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January 13, 2009

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Honda Insight Hybrid Makes World Debut at the Detroit Motor Show

Detroit - The all-new 2009 Honda Insight hybrid car made its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. 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, combined with 4.4 litre/100km* fuel economy and CO2 emissions of just 101g/km*.

Commenting on the debut of the Insight, Honda Motor Europe Vice-President, Ken Keir said: "Honda has been selling hybrids for almost a decade, but this is the first time that our technology has been available in a five-seat, five door car at an affordable price. The Insight combines our award winning IMA hybrid system with an easy to use driver aid (Eco Assist) to help our customers maximise their real world fuel economy.

By combining an electric motor with a highly efficient petrol engine, the Insight offers drivers not only low CO2 emissions, it also has very low emissions of other greenhouse gasses like N2O."

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.

In order to help Insight owners enjoy 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). Eco Assist combines multiple functions:

A driver-activated ECON mode that optimises control of the continuously variable transmission, engine and related powertrain components to conserve fuel A driver feedback function that uses speedometer background colour that can provide real-time guidance on achieving higher fuel efficiency A fuel economy scoring function that provides feedback about current driving efficiency, as well as feedback on cumulative, long-term driving style

Key safety features are Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Body Structure, which provides improved protection for vehicle occupants and helps mitigate damage to other vehicles; six airbags including driver passenger, side and curtain units; and a pedestrian-injury mitigation front body design.

Other standard equipment on all new Insights includes 60/40 split and fold-down rear seatback, two-tier digital instrument panel, automatic climate control, power windows, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and a MP3 compatible audio system with auxiliary audio input jack and Speed-Sensitive Volume Control.

High specification Insight models add cruise control, 6-speaker audio system with USB audio interface, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters and Honda Satellite Navigation System with Voice Recognition.

All Insights are powered by an advanced 1.3-litre aluminium-alloy i-VTEC engine mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox. The highly-efficient, ultra-low friction engine is assisted by a new generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system for excellent fuel economy and low emissions.

The Insight's IMA system incorporates a 14 PS electric motor, advanced battery pack, and compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) - recapturing 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 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 shutoff when the vehicle is stopped.

Honda is a leader 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 with the Insight being followed by a car based on the CR-Z concept and a hybrid version of the Jazz.

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

Photos: Honda

(11th January 2008)


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