2008 honda insight hybrid concept 013
Honda’s next major boost in sales is expected to come from new hybrids such as the next-generation InsightEnlarge Photo
He also revealed that the hybrid control module and battery array will be located under the cargo floor to maximize interior space. Despite being not much bigger than a Civic, there will still be enough room for five adults. Honda has also previously stated that it will not use lithium-ion batteries until the technology matures, and will instead rely on existing nickel metal hydride (NiMH) technology.
The concept shares styling cues with the Honda’s previous FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle, although its profile and glass house share a striking resemblance with the current Toyota Prius, the main vehicle the Insight is targeting. According to Honda, it was designed with a low center of gravity and enough space for five.
Powering the vehicle will be the latest iteration of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology. Engineers managed to achieve a significant cost reduction for the technology, which Honda claims should make the Insight the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date.
“The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the U.S. and remains a symbol of Honda’s commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency,” he explained. “This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value."
Going on sale in North America in the first half of next year, and other markets soon after, the Insight will come to market at a price significantly below most hybrid vehicles on sale today. The Civic Hybrid's base price is $22,600, and the Prius starts at $21,500. "I want to bring it down to the range of 2 million yen ($18,864)," said Fukui in a video conference.
The production version is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year, with approximately half of these in North America alone. Following its launch, Honda also plans to introduce a sports hybrid based on last year’s CR-Z. All together, the carmaker’s global sales of hybrids should increase to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10% of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.