Honda To Field Production Entries In 2001 Michelin Challenge Bibendum

9/25/2001 5:26:18 PM

Underscoring the breadth of its advanced automotive environmental technology applications, Honda will compete in five separate categories with standard production vehicles in the 2001 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today.

The Michelin Challenge Bibendum is an international competition designed to demonstrate real-world development and progress of automotive environmental technology. During the competition, to be held October 26-29, all entries will be graded in the areas of emissions, acceleration, design, braking, handling, noise, fuel efficiency and range.

Honda's 2002 model entries include the highly fuel efficient Civic HX, the clean burning natural gas Civic GX, the SULEV- certified (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) Accord EX, the all-new CR-V sport utility vehicle which meets advanced LEV-2 low emission standards, and America's fuel efficiency leader, the gasoline-electric Insight hybrid.

"This cross-section of production vehicles illustrates the depth of Honda's technological solutions for environmental and energy efficiency goals, " said Tom Elliott, executive vice president, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda's compressed natural gas (CNG) powered Civic GX is regarded as the cleanest internal combustion vehicle in the world. This Civic model provides both near-zero tailpipe emissions and excellent fuel economy. The Civc GX also qualifies for regulations that allow solo GX drivers to drive in California's High Occupancy Vehicle (carpool) lanes.

The Honda Insight, the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S., is also the most fuel-efficient gasoline powered vehicle in the world. The Insight entered in the Bibendum competition features the new continuously variable (CVT) transmission and has earned city/highway EPA fuel economy ratings of 57/56 mpg. It also is SULEV certified.

The Insight's 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder VTEC gasoline engine couples with an ultra-thin electric motor that provides assist as needed. Regenerative braking recharges the electric motor's batteries so no external power supply is required. The result is more than a 600-mile range on one fill-up of the Insight's 10.6-gallon fuel tank.

Also entered in the event as part of the Honda team is one of the cleanest gasoline-powered vehicles ever offered in California, the Accord EX SULEV. Building on Honda's advanced low emission technology, the Accord SULEV complies with a voluntary tailpipe standard for motor vehicle manufacturers that is approximately 90 percent cleaner that the ULEV standard, formerly the most stringent standard for internal combustion engines.

The final entry for Honda is the all-new CR-V sport utility vehicle. Even with increased power from the new i-VTEC engine, fuel economy has improved to an estimated 22/26 mpg city/hwy and all 2002 CR-Vs are certified to meet the new LEV-2 emission standards.

During the Michelin Challenge Bibendum competition, design judging will take place at the Automobile Club of Southern California. Competition then moves to the California Speedway in Fontana for performance testing. The track tests will be followed by a 275-mile real-world economy test on public roads from the California Speedway to Las Vegas over the Cajon Pass and Baker Grade.

This year marks the first time the Michelin Challenge Bibendum will be run in the United States, following two previous events held in France.

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