Friday 5 September 2008

Concept Car: Honda Insight

This is the all new Honda Insight, a more affordable hybrid family car concept that will make its debut at the Paris motorshow on the 2nd October and will rival the Toyota Prius.

It revives the Insight badge, which was first used on Honda’s first hybrid in 1999, a groundbreaking car that was a sales disaster. The new Insight is certain to be more successful than its predecessor. Honda officials have confirmed that it will be priced “significantly lower” than any other hybrid car on the market.

Prices are estimated to start at around £14,000, meaning that the Insight should appeal to those who have been unwilling to pay the premium for the £18,000 Toyota Prius. As a result, Honda believes it can reach its massive global sales of 250,000 units per year with this model.

Takeo Fukui, president of Honda, said he believes the new Insight will "break new ground by providing an affordable hybrid to an expanded number of customers craving great fuel economy and great value".

Some of the styling touches are shared with the hydrogen fuel cell-powered FCX Clarity, but the Insight uses a new and improved version of Honda’s IMA hybrid drive. This is likely to mate a revised version of the 113bhp, 1.4-litre iVTEC engine with an ultra-efficient hybrid powertrain. We should expect CO2 emissions of around 80g/km and fuel economy in excess of 80mpg.

The new Insight won’t use more modern lithium-ion batteries though, because Honda still has major doubts about their reliability and safety. But using more conventional nickel metal hydride units will help cut costs.

Up until now, Honda’s hybrid strategy had been to fit hybrid systems to normal production models but the Insight is the first in a family of bespoke hybrids. It’s based on a new platform, which the sportier CR-Z – previewed in concept form at the 2007 Tokyo motor show – is likely to share. Within the next three years, an incredibly efficient Jazz hybrid is also likely to be launched.

50% of the new Insight's sales are expected to be in the U.S thanks to its possible $18,000 sticker price, but this will also be a vital big-selling car for Honda UK when the Insight will go on sale in Spring 2009. The real thing will be unveiled at Detroit in January 2009.

Three more hybrids; the sporty CR-Z, a replacement Civic IMA and a Jazz will be added in the next few years, taking Honda's annual petrol-electric car production up to half a million.

Press Release:

Honda will reveal a concept version of its new global hybrid vehicle along with the official name, Insight, at the Paris Motor Show. The new dedicated hybrid will be exhibited along with the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and CR-Z sports hybrid concept model, demonstrating Honda's ongoing commitment to the development of cleaner powertrains.

Honda has always intended Hybrid vehicles to be a bridge to a hydrogen powered future, the potential of which has already been demonstrated by the FCX Clarity. The Insight Concept has clear stylistic links to the world's first production fuel cell car, with both vehicles' forms shaped to maximise the efficiency of their respective drivetrains. The Insight Concept is the stylistic inspiration for the production version which will go on sale in 2009. From this unique position in the marketplace, Insight will open hybrid technology to a new generation of customers.

The Insight will benefit from a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components resulting in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. This dedicated hybrid vehicle will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers and built on a newly developed platform.

Engineers have mounted the compact control unit and battery beneath the boot space to give the Insight both a low centre of gravity and the practicality of a conventionally powered hatchback. Insight will utilise various technologies, including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving giving customers a further improvement in real world fuel consumption. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan which recently has expanded hybrid motor production line.

"The original Honda Insight launched in 1999 was the pioneer of hybrid technology in Europe and remains an iconic symbol of Honda's environmental innovation," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will also break new ground by providing an affordable hybrid to an expanded number of customers craving great fuel economy and great value."

The Insight Concept is the culmination of two decades of hybrid petrol electric hybrid research and development. The Insight production vehicle will go on sale in Europe, Japan and North America during the first half of 2009.

Related link:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...