Because the electric motor only provides "assistance" to the petrol engine, only a very small battery is required – resulting in virtually no loss of boot space. It does however mean that the Civic cannot be driven on battery power alone – both petrol and electric engines always work together.
As well as offering exceptional fuel consumption, IMA offers very low emissions levels and excellent driveability and performance. The system is destined to become a major feature of Honda's car range in the UK with other applications currently in the planning stage.
And the grass car?
It was created by bonding 30 square metres of high grade wasted turf to the Civic’s steel body. Three dozen 500ml cans of industrial grade impact adhesive were used for the purpose, with a paint shop curing oven used to partially dry the grass to get it to fix to the car. The process took two people two days to complete during which 14 cups of coffee and six bacon butties were said to have been consumed.
The layer of turf adds an estimated 280 kg to the weight of the Honda Civic, rising to around 700kg when watered (a daily task to preserve the new bodywork). The car’s performance is also adversely affected by an increase in aerodynamic drag – particularly if the grass is allowed to grow long.
But despite these difficulties, the grass car might still catch on. Right now, ‘Lorna’ (or ‘Lawn-a’ as it was dubbed by its creators at Chiswick Honda) is just a prototype to evaluate the concept and gauge public reaction. But if there is a demand for it, Honda might just be persuaded to offer ‘grass’ as an optional extra….Published 16 February 2003