I’m likely to buy a new car this year and have been pondering the possibilities for a while. One option is to replace my aging Acura Integra with the 2002 Acura RS-X which is due out soon. The Integra is the last Acura to have its name taken away and replaced with random numbers or letters. Oh well. I can get used to the new name. It seems to get tolerable gas mileage and doesn’t look to bad. One thing I definitely don’t want is a gas guzzler (ie. anything less than 30mpg). I won’t be able see one in person or do a test drive until April though.
In the meantime, I test drove a Honda Insight recently. The Insight is Honda’s hybrid gas/electric vehicle. It gets 70mpg and the electric motor is powered by 120 Ni-MH D-cells. It had a suprising amount of power – I was expecting a sluggish electric-car feel but when you floor it the gas and electric motors both kick in and it takes off. It does all sorts of cool stuff to conserve power. The braking system recycles power into the batteries rather than just dissipating it all as heat. The gas engines shuts off when it’s not needed and restarts instantly when it is needed. The down side is that it’s a two seater and has very limited visibility. I drove a Honda CRX for years and but would prefer more than two seats these days.
Toyota has a hybrid too. I saw one at the auto pavillion at the 2000 Texas State Fair. It’s too expensive and not very cool looking at all – which is why it’s a Toyota I suppose.