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back to article Honda shows Insight hybrid in Europe

Honda will show its Insight concept hybrid at the Paris Motor Show this week, allowing Europeans to take a look at the motor maker's first hybrid-only auto. There's no denying the Insight's new-Civic styling - rather more swish than the look of its current Civic Hybrid offering. Inside the five-door shell there's a 1.3l pertrol …

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IT Angle

Well I'm surprised

I really hated the old insight with a Passion - why do car manufacturers tend to go all weird and make their hybrids look like a 50's version of THE CAR OF TOMORROW!!!!!

But this I actually quite like. And indeed could be tempted to part with my cash, if indeed I ever actually had any cash... :(

But I have to say - IT Angle?

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IT angle

It's got a UPS in it ...

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Anonymous Coward

Damn...

That car looks awesome! Especially the interior. Finally some exec got into their empty head that futuristic doesn't need to be fugly!

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Prius clone?

It looks exactly like a Prius (not a bad thing TBH but still..)

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Design still an issue

I wish they would make hybrid cars look just like.... well, NORMAL cars.

I think they try to hard to make it look all amazing and modern. I very much agree with Daniel's "CAR OF TOMORROW" comment.

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Boffin

Why not an electric motor backed by diesel?

Am I missing something here?

Design a car with electric motors in the wheel hubs, or driveshafts, put in quite a few batteries and a small (<1 ltr I would imagine) diesel engine attached to an alternator that is solely there to recharge the batteries and/ or to give extra range.

And make it plug-in!

It would need to have a top speed of 70 to 80 mph and a range of 30 or 40 miles on batteries, and 300-400 miles using the diesel.

Another idea is to use plug-in modules, like large shoe-boxes, that could be more batteries for those making short trips, or additional fuel for those making longer trips.

Maybe I'm expecting too much, but so far all the hybrids seem to be a petrol engine with batteries and motor slapped on as an afterthought.

Also I would like a design which is more like an estate, but I'm not expecting miracles.

ttfn

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Actually it looks ok

Quite like the interior.

Not sure how it handle, the wheels aren't far enough in the corners for my liking, but I'm sure the clever Jap fellows will pack it out with gizmos to compensate.

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@Paul Murphy

I believe you've just described the Chevy Volt: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/09/16/gm_shows_production_volt/

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Bronze badge
Boffin

@Paul Murphy

Great suggestion, you just described a full series plugin hybrid system. This is a mild parallel hybrid system.

It's also possible to strap wings to the outside and fly ('aeroplane'), waterproof the bottom and put a screw on it ('boat') or string several of them together on special steel tracks ('train').

To say "Why don't they just..." and describe a different technology is as useful as looking at a new desktop PC and saying "Why couldn't they just put it in a small case and hinge the screen into a lid that can cover the keyboard when folded away, then integrate a UPS and optimise the components for low power usage?"

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Why not a diesel?

Because diseasels are already relatively efficient. Hybrid technology is being used to improve the efficiency of petrol engines because there's a big(ger) gain to be made. Why not pure electric? Because when talking about electric cars all common sense seems to fly out of the window. The electricity has to be generated (somehow) people don't like nuclear, wind power and solar are still joke technologies and filling one's car up with coal or gas fired electricity isn't achieving that much in terms of overall efficiency. The same goes for fuel cells. Very few people think to ask where the hydrogen to fuel the vehicle comes from - at the moment it's mostly from hydrocarbons in the form of methane or petroleum gasses.

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B

The reasoning behind the design

To answer those who rip on the futuristic concept car appearance of the Insight (which I agree with) let me post a bit of an explanation. I've read an article about this somewhere, but the point of making the car look so "wierd" is that they actually did studies with focus groups and found that buyers in that market wanted a car that stood out so people would know they were driving their eco-conscious car. Apparently a lot of people who chose the Prius vs the "normal" looking Honda Accord hybrid chose the Prius for exactly the reason you (and I) don't seem to understand, they liked the whacked out styling. With more digging in the focus group they found out that it wasn't so much the actual styling that they liked about the Prius, it was the fact that the Prius looked so odd that everyone who saw one knew it was a hybrid. The buyers wanted attention from others more than they wanted a normal looking car. The Honda Accord hybrid, on the other hand, look almost exactly like a normal Accord and thus didn't offer the attention these buyers craved.

Wierd as it sounds, that was what the focus groups uncovered. Based on those findings I drew my own conclusion which was, "Never underestimate the stupidity of people."

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Jobs Halo

the motor maker's first hybrid-only auto??

> the motor maker's first hybrid-only auto

Huh?

I drive an '06 Honda Insight (66.7 lifetime MPG thank you) which is hybrid only and it has been available since 1999 so am I misunderstanding something?

And to the person who desires a hybrid to look just like a non hybrid, please see the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Honda Civic Hybrid, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Me, I prefer something interesting.

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@Paul Murphy, again

"Am I missing something here?

Design a car with electric motors in the wheel hubs"

Yes, you are missing something. It's called "handling". Some of the more fancy cars like BMW M5s go for lightweight suspension components (made out of aluminium) in order to minimise said unsprung weight. They don't do it for fun!

Hence why varous odd-ball cars use inboard brakes, which can be attached to the sprung part of the driveshaft.

Perhaps Mr Murphy should stick to commenting on what he knows about in future, along with all the other armchair critics who appear to know so much more than trained engineers.

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Another turd in the bucket.......

Doesn't begin to address issues around the real challenges facing the car; packaging remains woeful, fuel is nothing new, size just far, far too big.

No imagination, no passion and no drive. Sums up the car as well as the maker. Utter shite.

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Consumers want turds

You are right, Pete, it's crap I completely agree, just a prius clone.

But look, when Honda did try even a few new things with my original Insight, the public ran away in droves.

-2 seater! "but I can't haul my buddies/stuff around!"

- All aluminum construction "But it'll get smashed like a soda can!"

- Tiny and very light "But it'll get smashed like a soda can!" "The handling is crap!" "The road noise!!!"

- extremely efficient design with .25 drag coefficent "But it looks like the 50's version of the car of tomorrow!!!"

- UV-blocking glass to reduce cabin cooling cost "Huh???"

So this cool car with actual interesting ideas that WORKS at 66 mpg (yes sorry it still does use gasoline) sold...wait for it...700 units/year in its last several years.

It's not Honda's fault that everything is shite, it's our's.

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Anonymous Coward

Batteries

See what kind of Batteries does it use? As if it's nickle, god damn have you ever seen the superstac? 2 things visible from space, the great wall of china and the circle of dead land around the damn superstac.

Mining the crap that goes into batteries isn't the cleanest industry in the world.

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Bronze badge
Anonymous Coward

LED headlights?

Mmmm - LED headlights. Don't like the chavvy illuminated radiator grille though.

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Coat

The Real Reason

Why have auto manufacturers always designed their most efficient hybrids to look so idiotically 'futuristic'? To help prevent the self-important environmentalist 'me-too' lemmings from reproducing.

Mine's the one with keys to the full-electric with a turbo diesel backup....

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Pirate

No thanks

I'll stick with my 4.5 V8 Cayenne S ta ...

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Stop

Unoriginal

Hmm, A Prius on the outside and, oh look, the innovative futuristic interior appears to be a beige version of what's already in my bog standard 2007 civic...

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Coat

Interior looks like my Fit-S. Interior like a Prius.

Getting to the pinnacle of Aero-Design, and working on the guts now.

I still love my Fit-S. It ROCKS. Go Honda.

Truly a company with its sights set on the future.

Mine's the one with the remote for the 1,5L Blown/Boosted Rice Burner that just blew past you.

Paddle Shifters in hand...

PS: Paris cried, 'cause she could'nt ride!

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