American Honda To Lead 2001 Tour de Sol With Two Greenest Vehicles on Sale Nationwide

5/17/2001 4:45:20 PM

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. returns as Gold Sponsor of The 13th Annual Tour de Sol, a green car rally organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), the largest grassroots environmental group in the U.S.

To be held May 19-26, the 2001 Tour covers more than 300 miles, starting in Waterbury, CT, driving west to Albany, NY, then heading east through central Massachusetts to finish in Boston, MA.

Honda will lead the Tour with two pace cars that are the greenest vehicles on the U.S. market* -

  • The 2001 gasoline-electric hybrid Insight, now entering its second model year. In addition to its five-speed, manual transmission model, Honda's Insight line now offers a model with a 'Continuously Variable Transmission' (CVT), to offer smooth and stepless shifting with maximum efficiency and performance.

    With an EPA-rated 57-mpg in city driving, the CVT Insight is the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered vehicle with an automatic transmission on the U.S. market.

  • The 2001 Civic GX, powered by dedicated natural gas. With near-zero emissions, the GX has been named by U.S. EPA as "Cleanest on Earth" with an internal combustion engine.

Both automobiles, on sale nationwide, meet the most stringent exhaust emissions standard in the world - California's Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard, emitting 96 percent less pollutants than a typical car. The Civic GX is the only SULEV sedan on the market nationwide.

"The Insight and the Civic GX are two more steps of many Honda has already taken to reduce the impact of the automobile on the environment," said Robert Bienenfeld, senior manager of product planning for American Honda. "These two production vehicles represent Honda's commitment to develop real-world, market-ready solutions to meet this challenge."

The annual event typically features manufacturer-built prototypes and futuristic student-designed concepts. Last year, for the first time in the history of the Tour de Sol, an affordable, mass-produced environmental vehicle - the 2000 Honda Insight - led the road rally as the official pace car.

The Honda Insight took top honors in the 2000 Tour de Sol, achieving an average of 92-mpg over more than 300 miles, from New York City to Washington, DC.

The progress of the Tour, which starts on Mon., May 21, can be tracked on NESEA's website -

* American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's "Green Book:
The Environmental Guide To Cars and Trucks," 2001 rankings

2001 Honda Insight

  • Introduced in 1999 as the first gas-electric hybrid on sale in the U.S.
  • Marketed as a vehicle for the urban commuter; as a second or third family car; and to young buyers who care about good fuel economy and the environment.
  • Features Honda's Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA) system - a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a lightweight and compact 144-volt electric motor. The electric motor is powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which is charged by the gasoline engine and by recapturing the vehicle's momentum during braking.
  • Five-speed, manual transmission Insight model is EPA-rated with 61-mpg city / 68-mpg highway; CVT automatic Insight model is EPA-rated with 57-mpg city / 56-mpg highway. Both 2001 Insight models are certified to California's Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard - emitting 96 percent less pollutants than a typical car.
  • Does not require an outside source of electric power - unlike pure electric vehicles, it never needs to be plugged in.

2001 Civic GX

  • Powered by a dedicated compressed natural gas engine.
  • Certified to California's Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard - emitting 96 percent less pollutants than a typical car.
  • Driving range of 200 miles in 'real world' driving, 250 miles on the highway.
  • Driven from California to Washington, DC, the Civic GX emits fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons than what would be released by spilling a single teaspoon of gasoline.
  • Contains an advanced 'Continuously Variable Transmission' (CVT) to offer the convenience of an automatic with both the performance and fuel efficiency of a manual transmission.
  • In 1998, U.S. EPA named the GX as "Cleanest on Earth" with an internal combustion engine.