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Honda Insight Hybrid Goes on Sale in Japan on Friday

5 February 2009

Honda Motor Co. will begin selling the all-new Insight hybrid (earlier post) in Japan on Friday, 6 February, starting at ¥1,890,000 (~US$21,100). The Insight features a newly developed hybrid system including a 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine and Honda’s fifth-generation Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology.

To further support fuel-efficient driving, the Insight features the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist) as standard equipment on all models.

The 2010 Honda Insight hybrid car made its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

In Japan, the Insight hybrid is rated as delivering 26 km/L (61 mpg US, 3.8 L/100km) in JC08 mode and 30 km/L (70.6 mpg US, 3.3 L/100km) in 10•15 mode. In the US, the Insight offers an estimated EPA combined fuel-economy rating of 41 mpg US (17.4 km/L, 5.7 L/100km).

The Insight goes on sale in the US in April 2009.

February 5, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

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"the Insight offers an estimated EPA combined fuel-economy rating of 41 mpg US"


Awesome! The newfangled, high-tech, leading edge, vehicle will now get mileage ALMOST as good as my 30 year old VW diesel Rabbit pickup. And when I burn biodiesel my emissions are BETTER than this hybrid. Yawn, lets make progress...

Your rabbit is also a death trap and a million times more polluting.

Update your rabbit to meet current safety and emissions regulations, then we'll see what it's fuel economy really is.

I think what may be more informative is comparing the new Insight's JC08 and 10•15 ratings to the current Civic Hybrid and Prius.

2010 Insight: 26 km/L JC08 - 30 km/L 10•15
2009 Civic Hybrid: 26 km/L JC08 - 30 km/L 10•15
2009 Prius: 26.9 km/L JC08 - 35.5 km/L 10•15

I have to think that the Insight will probably be very similar to the Civic in real world driving, and still slightly lower (~10%) than the Prius.

I have to wonder, though - just how many Civic Hybrids will Honda sell when they are now offering basically the same car in different packaging for a few thousand dollars less?

Goracle,

Your 30 year old diesel does not have better emissions than anything modern regardless of the fuel you shove into it(though I'm not sure how you are defining "better"...perhaps you mean the smell is more pleasant?).

Nearly decade-old examples of the original Insight have averaged mid-50s mpg, sometimes getting into the 80s when they were new. Without the direct injection promised in its show-car circuit origins, there could be no CRX Si -like version. But it was close, like a MkI CRX DX with airbags and ABS that used half the gas. A MkII (or MkIb) Insight should have gotten direct injection, a turbocharged Si version and preferably a dual-clutch series/parallel hybrid powerplant allowing real electric-only operation. Now they've apparently just given up on real innovation and gotten on the overweight, steel-bodied Prius-lookalike bandwagon, with about 2/3rds the MkI's mpg as a result.

There's still nothing our there than can really replace my mid-80s CRX/Civic Si habit I've been maintaining for 17 years now. Haven't heard anything more about the CR-Z either... Anything light and therefore both fun and efficient too often gets judged unmarketable. (The MINI weighs too much, and the engine doesn't really impress me.)


In "real-life" tests made by several European car magazines, the new VW Golf outperforms the Prius in most driving conditions when it comes to fuel economy. Prius is better only in congested city driving. My BMW 320d Touring (diesel) MY'08 is also pretty good, giving me almost 50 mpg (US) in daily traffic. The new MY'09 BMW 320d sedan has a certified fuel consumption of 4,7 l/100 km (equal to 50 pmg US) in the European NEDC driving cycle.

Regarding emissions you cannot compare a 30 year old car with a new car. The new VW Golf diesel has higher NOx emissions than the Prius and Insight hybrids. However, with (now commercially ready) NOx catalyst a VW Golf would achieve similar NOx levels. Remember that gasoline and hybrid cars have to use NOx aftertreatment to meet the limits. So, in a technology-neutral comparison, we would have to include the diesel NOx catalyst in the comparison. At my local car dealer (Sweden), I can order a BMW diesel (330d) with a NOx catalyst; not yet, however, for the same model 320d I have now. The NOx catalyst in the 330d does not cause any deterioration of fuel consumption or CO2 emissions compared to the same car without NOx catalyst. Regarding PM emissions, gasoline engines have low PM emissions in certification-type of tests (though, not regulated in EU yet). However, that is not the case in daily driving and particularly not for cold starts. Diesel cars have particle filters (DPFs) that give very low PM emissions under all driving conditions and lower (2-5 times) an average gasoline car in a lifecycle perspective. To give you an example, the BMW 320d has a certified PM level of 0.00013 g/km. Normally, this is rounded to 0.000 g/km. A calculation shows that the mentioned level is about at similar level as the rural background air in Northern Scandinavia. On the European continent, the background level i higher and so is the case also for poplulated areas in Scandinavia. Thus, the BMW 320d will clean the air during practically all type of driving. My recommendation to environmentally concious BMW 320d owners is: "keep on driving".

There are many ways of comparing diesel and gasoline hybrids and who knows what the best way of comparison is. However, while waiting for the "ultimate" solution, i.e. the diesel (plug-in) hybrid, both are better than the conventional gasoline car.

Peter:

For proper comparison make a note that diesel fuel packs about 10% more energy per gallon/liter than gasoline.

Also, on gasoline cars catalytic aftertreatment does not lead to increased fuel consumption. On diesel cars NOx absorber does require additional fuel to be wasted during regeneration events, to burn all oxygen in exhaust. Plus additional fuel penalty because of back pressure of particulate filter.

BTW, same NOx absorber as on diesel works fine on lean-combustion direct injection stratified charge gasoline engine, which is close to diesel in thermal efficiency.

Peter:

For proper comparison make a note that diesel fuel packs about 10% more energy per gallon/liter than gasoline.

Also, on gasoline cars catalytic aftertreatment does not lead to increased fuel consumption. On diesel cars NOx absorber does require additional fuel to be wasted during regeneration events, to burn all oxygen in exhaust. Plus additional fuel penalty because of back pressure of particulate filter.

BTW, same NOx absorber as on diesel works fine on lean-combustion direct injection stratified charge gasoline engine, which is close to diesel in thermal efficiency.

Peter,

Not only is your comparison misleading because gasoline contains 124,000 BTUs per gallon and diesel contains 139,000 BTUs per gallon -- 13% more energy per gallon, but there is something even more interesting: out of a barrel of oil, 20 gallons of gasoline can usually be obtained, but only 10 gallons of diesel.

It is true that diesel requires less energy to refine, but with low sulfur requirements phasing in that's becoming less and less true.

At the end of the day, diesel drivers use more fuel per barrel.

If, and this is a big if, there were cheap biodiesel substitutes (such as algal oil) and no similar cheap substitutes for gasoline, then I would agree that compression ignition engines are the better bet.

Hybrids using atkinson cycle engines get closer to diesel peak efficiency, but hybrid keep the average efficiency the same or higher by keeping the engine closer to its sweet spot.

This makes hybrids a better bet long term and just like all other electronic systems, time will make gas-electric hybrids much cheaper whereas diesels will continue to rely heavily on expensive heavy duty engine blocks which will not get cheaper.

Ralph

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