One of the main problems with hybrid vehicles is the cost. The government does offer tax credits that help offset the price, but those are negated by the enormous premiums that the dealers are charging in addition to the MSRP; simply because the supply of these vehicles is limited and they are high in demand, Business 101. It has been concluded that the additional amount spent to purchase a hybrid instead of the traditional model will never be recuperated at the pump because the sher number of miles that a person would have to drive is tremendous.
For example, a well-optioned Toyota Prius can around $30,000. Hopefully Honda will affect this trend by introducing an affordable hybrid vehicle. The 2010 Honda Insight will go on sale March 24th for around $19,800 becoming the cheapest hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. The five-door five-seater gas-electric hybrid follows Honda’s latest design trend and comes with a long list of standard features.
"The all-new Honda Insight brings the cost of entry for hybrid technology within closer reach of an entirely new car-shopping audience"
Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist joins a 1.3 liter 4 cylinder i-VTEC gasoline engine with a 10 kilowatt electric motor connected to a Continuously Variable Transmission. The electric motor is positioned in between the engine and transmission. This motor provides power during acceleration and through regenerative braking generates electricity during deceleration that is stored in the battery for future use. Another benefit of the IMA system is its ability to operate exclusively on electric power during low speed driving and the fuel saving idle stop feature that shuts down the 4 cylinder engine while the vehicle is standing still.
New for 2010 is the Ecological Drive Assist System, much like FIAT’s Eco Drive software that lets you record personal driving statistics on a flash drive and then have the program evaluate your economy at home on a PC. Except that with Eco Assist displays all the information in front of the driver in real time on a 3-D looking panel in front of the speedometer. Off to the left is another new feature is the ECON button, which can manipulate the throttle, control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and in the slightly higher priced EX model the cruise-control operation in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
All of this technology is said to return 40 miles per gallon in city driving and 43 miles per gallon while cruising on the highway. The 10.6 gallon gas tank in the Honda hybrid should give the Insight a range of over 400 miles.
The vehicle will also be sold in an EX trim starting at $21,300 and $23,100 for navigation. Not to shabby for an affordable hybrid.
Press release after the jump.