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Honda Insight Hybrid Debuts In Detroit

2009 Honda Insight (copyright image) 19th January, 2009

The all-new 2009 Honda Insight hybrid car has made its world debut at the Detroit Motor Show (North American International Auto Show - NAIAS) in USA. The 2009 Insight defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology by utilising a more cost-efficient version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology, resulting in a new level of affordability for hybrid customers worldwide.

The Insight will be launched at Honda dealers throughout the United States at the beginning of April 2009 and will be priced below the Civic Hybrid.

Commenting on the launch of the Insight, Honda Australia Managing Director & CEO, Mr. Yasuhide Mizuno said: "Honda introduced hybrid motoring into Australia with the original two-door Insight back in 2000 and we have been selling hybrids for almost a decade. And now for the first time our technology is being made available in a five-seat, five door body at a very affordable price. The new Insight combines our award winning IMA hybrid system with an easy to use driver aid (Eco Assist) to help our customers maximise their fuel economy. By combining an electric motor with a highly efficient petrol engine, the Insight also offers drivers low CO2 emissions. At Honda, we look forward to introducing Australia to the new Insight within the next twelve months.”

The five-door hatchback design takes some of the styling cues as well as the aerodynamically efficient profile from the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell car. To compliment the sleek profile the Insight has been designed with a low centre of gravity helped by the repackaged IMA system, which gives customers a fine handling car with a highly flexible interior.

Evoking the advanced and aerodynamic five-door sedan design first deployed on the revolutionary FCX Clarity fuel cell car, the new Insight has a low centre of gravity and a spacious five-passenger cabin, offering the kind of driving experience and roomy, versatile interior space that customers expect from Honda.

To help Insight owners attain the full benefits of Honda hybrid technology, the Insight will feature a new interactive, driver-focused fuel economy enhancement technology named the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist™). The Eco Assist system combines multiple functions:

  • A driver-activated ECON mode that optimises control of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) engine and related powertrain components to further improve vehicle fuel efficiency;
  • a driver feedback function that uses an innovative speedometer display with changing background colours to provide real-time guidance to the driver on achieving higher fuel efficiency; and
  • a unique fuel-economy scoring function using a plant-leaf graphic to provide feedback to the driver on current-trip driving efficiency and lifetime fuel-efficient driving performance.

The Insight is powered by an advanced 1.3-litre SOHC aluminium-alloy i-VTEC engine and CVT, along with a new generation of Honda’s IMA hybrid system for exceptional fuel economy and fun-to-drive performance.

The Insight’s IMA system incorporates a 10-kilowatt (13 hp) electric motor and a compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) – recapturing and storing kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration and supplying additional power for acceleration when needed. Packaging of the ultra-compact IMA battery and IPU in the vehicle’s rear floor allows the enhanced utility of a 60/40 split and fold-down rear seat back.

The Insight’s IMA system has the capability to operate exclusively on electric power in certain low- to mid-speed driving conditions. It also provides for cylinder deactivation within the petrol engine during deceleration and for engine shut-off when the vehicle is stopped.

Honda is one of the many 'players' in developing cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, including the original Honda Insight, introduced in 1999 as the first commercially produced petrol-electric hybrid car in Europe and the US. Honda has announced plans to increase its global hybrid sales to over 500,000 units annually.

Honda is also involved in the development of advanced alternatives to fossil fuels, including the zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell car, one of the world's low environmental impact production cars.

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