Honda heads hybrid assault
Paris Motor Show will be a haven for hybrids, writes PAUL GOVER
APOSSE of hot hybrids will lead an automotive assault on the French capital when the 2008 Paris Motor Show opens on October 4. Honda and Citroen have presented a pictorial preview of their main cars for the show. They will compete with an all-electric Nissan and a diesel Mazda city car for main bragging rights.
But Honda has the front running with a car that looks like a Toyota Prius clone and carries the Insight name that was applied to its first (unsuccessful) petrol-electric production car.
‘‘This new Insight will . . . break new ground by providing an affordable hybrid to an expanded number of customers craving great fuel economy and great value,’’ Honda Motor Company president Takeo Fukui says.
The Insight II is a big change from Honda’s Civic hybrid and is planned to be much cheaper than any other hybrid in showrooms.
It is called a ‘‘family hybrid concept’’ and is said to be smaller than the Civic, but still capable of carrying five people inside its hatchback body.
Despite the obvious visual connection to the Prius, Honda says the styling of Insight II is based on the the FCX Clarity, the company’s hydrogen-powered fuel-cell car.
It aims to sell 200,000 Insights a year and says the hybrid powerhouse will be followed by a sporty hybrid based on the CR-Z concept car, a Jazz hybrid and a new Civic hybrid.
Citroen is making no production claims for its Hypnos, which looks like a one-off show car. It has a stylish crossover body and the French carmaker says ‘‘a powerful sensory experience awaits the driver and passenger, taking them into the realm of pure magic’’.
The coupe body is packed with petrolelectric technology that is claimed to make the car quick and enjoyable while returning better than 5 litres/100km and emitting less than 120g/km of CO2.
Hybrid highwire: Honda’s Insight II is the first in a line of new hybrids promised by the company.
Hypnotic effect: the Citroen Hypnos features a dynamic-looking crossover body.