Case study: Big car, small footprint

Case study: Big car, small footprint
Honda’s new Insight sends a boot-load of messages about balancing performance with sustainability.

The new Honda Insight

Companies will spend up big on marketing and advertising campaigns, but there’s another oft forgotten vehicle for promotion, one that can literally drive your brand message home. The vehicle your staff drive can go a long way in defining the company. And if you want a trusted brand that speaks of quality, style, efficiency and a social conscience, Honda’s new Insight Hatch has all the credentials.

With a combined $7.2 million spent annually on research and development, the Civic-sized Insight comes stacked with benefits, including a 40 percent reduction in its cost to run when compared to the average hatchback of the same size —savings you can pump back into your business.

It also includes a breakthrough driver assistance panel (see sidebar), providing drivers with real time information about fuel consumption and adding an interesting level of engagement to the everyday drive.

And in move that will please the bank, the Insight delivers superior performance at the same price as its conventional competitors, starting at $35,800 or $549 per month.

And to top it off the Insight was awarded 5 stars and achieved the highest score of all cars tested in the 2009 EuroNCAP crash testing regime.

Game changer
Managing director of Honda New Zealand, Graeme Seymour, says the car game is changing.

“No longer will those wanting to save on fuel or make an environmental contribution be asked to pay a premium or sacrifice vehicle size. Buyers who previously purchased conventional cars can now enjoy these benefits, too.”

The Insight Hatch, a hybrid vehicle, achieves greater efficiency by capturing wasted motion energy—already paid for in fuel—to charge the batteries, which in turn drive an electric motor. An onboard computer automatically integrates the electric and petrol engine depending on the driver intentions.

The original hybrid Insight was released in 1999. Ten years on the 2010 captures numerous advances in technology. New features include:

Affordability, and a true saving in running costs

New engine: The Insights engine includes Hondas VTEC and Variable Cylinder Management technology delivering seemless power and control

A New IMA or Interated Motor Assist system with lighter components and increased performance, creating a low centre of gravity for excellent handling

Proven business
Honda backs its technology with a business model that suits Kiwi companies. Whether you’re buying one Honda or a fleet, Honda protect everyone’s long-term investment equally by giving all its customers the best price. While other brands undermine their value with unequal, inconsistent pricing, Honda ensures single-car buyers don’t subsidise the fleet buyer by paying more for the same car. That means when it comes time to sell, the resale value is determined by its age and mileage alone, and doesn’t suffer the added loss created by paying too much at purchase. It’s this commitment to provide an ethical, transparent service for all its customers that won Honda the Deloittes/Management Top 200 AUT business Ethics award.

Eco guide 1

While driving, the leaf symbols along the top of the Eco Guide screen indicate the average economy of the current trip. The bar symbol below demonstrates the instantaneous measure of the driving style. Smooth driving results in small movements either side of the central line, more pronounced acceleration and braking promotes greater movement, while really hard acceleration and braking will cause it to move to its extremes.

Eco guide 2
At the end of a trip when the ignition key is turned off, the top line indicates the score for the last trip, while the bottom one shows the car’s cumulative economy rating from new. With good driving, as time goes on, the single leaf becomes two, then three. When each cumulative sector is completed the display shows a congratulatory laurel wreath for excellent driving.

Multi trip information
This screen shows the average fuel economy achieved for the current and three immediately previous trips, in bar graph form.

Instant fuel economy
This screen shows the instant fuel use on a horizontal graph as well as a readout of the average economy for the A or B trip meters. Using the two trip meters, drivers can compare the car’s performance over shorter segments of a journey with the overall figures.

IMA system schematic
At any instant, power from the Insight’s petrol engine can be directed both to driving the wheels and/or recharging the battery pack via the IMA motor/generator. The car, in turn, can be helping charge the batteries via regenerative braking, while the batteries can be supplying power via the IMA motor. The system schematic screen for the MID gives a running update on the power flows back and forward.

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To read more about the Insight, visit 

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