Alternative Fuels - the future of power for automobiles
A new way to power cars has been emerging - hybrids. These cars use both gasoline and electricity to power themselves. They combine the distance of gasoline and the efficiency of electricity. When accelerating and starting up, they use electricity coming from a battery. Once it reaches a certain speed, the gasoline engine kicks in. While cruising they are using both the battery and the engine. The battery is recharged by using power from the engine and when braking. The vehicles can capture some of the energy used in braking that is normally wasted. These cars get excellent MPG ratings, for example, the Honda Insight has been rated at 61 mpg city / 70 mpg highway. These cars are also very affordable, the expected pricing for the Insight has been stated as "under $20,000." The Toyota Prius is expected to take losses when it first comes out.

Honda Insight
Honda Insight Engine: Lean-burn inline 3 cylinder
Tune-up interval: 170,000 km (105,000 mi)
Transmission: 5-speed manual transaxle
Battery: 144 volt NiMH (nickel metal-hydride) battery
Body: Aluminum monocoque
Top Speed: 180 km/h (104 mph)
mpg: 61 city / 70 highway

Toyota Prius
Engine: 1.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, EFI 4-cylinder
Battery: sealed nickel-metal hydride
Body: Aluminum monocoque
Top Speed: 161 km/h (100 mph)
mpg: 50-66
 Toyota Prius

Links for more information:

  • Official Toyota Prius Web Site
  • Official Honda Insight Web Site
  • Honda Insight Consumer Information Site
  • Toyota Prius review

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    Page design, images, and content Copyright © 2000 Erik Anderson.
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