The Civic Hybrid petrol electric car will go on sale in Britain from late spring 2003, says Honda (UK)’s new General Manager David Strangeway. This follows the earlier announcement from Honda President Hiroyuki Yoshino that the model would be available for Europe following its successful debut in Japan and America.

Developing the technology used in the Honda Insight, the Civic Hybrid uses an ultra slim electric motor teamed with a smaller than usual petrol engine to achieve exceptional fuel efficiency and low exhaust emissions. In the case of Civic Hybrid, Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system marries a 10 kW electric motor with the 1.3-litre i-DSI engine, similar to that powering the Honda Jazz.

The combination achieves power equivalent to that of a 1600 cc petrol engine with excellent torque (pulling power) and spectacular fuel efficiency – up to 60 mpg. A 100 mph maximum speed is likely, with 0-60 mph acceleration of around 13 seconds – while the unit is extremely refined mechanically.

The Civic Hybrid will be built in Japan and available in 4 door saloon guise. It will therefore complement the existing British built 3 and 5 door Civic hatchbacks and American built 2 door coupe. The UK allocation of the model is expected to be around 1000 units per annum, while pricing will be in the existing Civic range with a rich level of specification.

"We felt that British customers should be among the first to have access to the Civic Hybrid, just as they did with the Insight," says Honda’s David Strangeway.

"The Insight has done a tremendous job in drawing attention to the IMA concept, and has shown that environmentally friendly motoring can be both affordable and fun. We have always recognised that this two-seater coupe is not the most practical configuration to suit most people’s needs, so the introduction of a five-seater Civic Hybrid is a logical progression. Both products represent Honda’s future direction for improving vehicle efficiency and reducing environmental impact, and we’re keen to establish an early lead in this technology," he adds.

Honda has a long history of developing innovative and environmentally responsible products. The story began as long ago as the early Seventies, when the CVCC Civic became the world’s first low emission car to meet the US Clean Air Act. Later the company designed the VTEC system as a way of realising high power and high fuel efficiency in one engine, developing this through several incarnations to meet LEV (Low Emission Vehicle) and ULEV (Ultra LEV) standards.

In recent years the company also developed the Honda EV pure electric vehicle and Civic GX natural gas powered car – and is currently working on the commercialisation of its first fuel cell car scheduled for launch in 2003.

Published : 17/07/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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