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2010 Honda Insight  (Source: LeftLane News)
Fuel economy is rumored to be around 71 MPG

To many in America, the hybrid car is nearly synonymous with the Toyota Prius. In fact, many think that the Toyota Prius was the first hybrid car sold in America. Those who believe the Prius was first are very wrong.

Honda first brought the hybrid vehicle to the U.S. with its Insight, which was far from a sales success. The Insight sold only 2,000 units in 2005 and in 2006 -- its last year of production -- Honda only moved 1,000 Insights.

LeftLane News reports that Honda is gearing up to bring the Insight hybrid back as a 2010 model. The new Insight will use a 1.3-liter Integrated Motor Assist system that is similar to the one found in the current Honda Civic Hybrid. DailyTech reported in July of 2008 that Honda has refined its hybrid system and that future versions would be 50% less expensive to build than the current system.

The Insight will use the new, refined hybrid system. Thanks to the cheaper hybrid drive system LeftLane News reports that the new 2010 Insight will sell for $18,500 -- significantly cheaper than the Toyota Prius. The new Insight is based on the Honda Fit, though reports say that it will be three inches longer and about one inch wider than the Fit.

Fuel economy for the Insight is reported to be as high as 71 miles per gallon. If the Insight fuel economy comes anywhere close to that number at the $18,500 MSR, Honda will have a hard time keeping up with the demand for the Insight when it hits Honda showrooms in mid or late 2009.

Honda says it will build 200,000 Insights annually and expects to sell half of that amount in America. The Insight seen in the photo here is a development car; the car is expected to be officially introduced at the Paris Motor Show or the L.A. Auto Show.



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???
By voodooboy on 8/5/2008 1:51:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why does it's profile look SO MUCH like that of a Prius? :|




RE: ???
By pauldovi on 8/5/2008 1:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
Its called fluid dynamics, Honda and Toyota are bound with the same set of physical laws. It also looks like Honda's hydrogen powered FCX Clarity.


RE: ???
By voodooboy on 8/5/2008 4:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
So...ummm...these "laws" are only applicable to hybrids? Or has Toyota perfected the aerodynamics of a car to the T for the others to just rip it off?


RE: ???
By Solandri on 8/5/2008 5:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
We had a structural engineer from BMW give us a guest lecture in grad school. He said the way a car is normally designed is an artist comes up with the general shape. There's no engineering involved, whatever he likes he goes with. Then its aerodynamics are tested and tweaked a bit. Then the engine and internal components are designed to fit within that shape. And finally the structural engineer was given an allowance of 10-20kg of steel to make it pass crash safety tests. (Yes, even at BMW, safety comes last.)

Cars designed with engineering as a priority are the exception (the old boxy Volvos come to mind). Hybrids were specifically designed to maximize fuel economy, so engineering criteria (including aerodynamics) overrode the whims of the artists. When you do that, you get similar shapes.


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