Honda Insight Wins 'Tour de Sol'

6/19/2001 2:48:00 PM

A privately-owned Honda Insight took top honors for hybrid production vehicles in the 2001 Tour de Sol, an annual 'green' car rally that features Earth-friendly cars on sale nationwide, manufacturer-built prototypes and futuristic student-designed concepts.

Held May 19-26, the 2001 Tour covered more than 250 miles, starting in Waterbury, CT, driving west to Albany, NY, then heading east through central Massachusetts -- and up and over the Berkshire Mountains -- to finish in Boston, MA. The event featured more than 50 vehicles powered by a variety of technologies, including gasoline-electric hybrid, biodiesel, ethanol, battery electric, and solar energy. The Tour is organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), the largest regional grassroots environmental group in the United States.

Insight owners Naoto Inoue and Susan Roberts of Kennebunkport, ME, achieved an average of 71 miles per gallon (mpg) over more than 250 miles of mountainous terrain. Inoue's and Roberts' Insight used less than four gallons of gasoline during the week-long Tour. The Insight also bested its competitor -- the only other gas-electric hybrid production vehicle on the U.S. market -- by 21 mpg.

American Honda, which served as the event's major corporate sponsor for the second consecutive year, led the 2001 Tour de Sol with two pace cars that are the greenest vehicles on the U.S. market* -- the gas-electric Insight, and the Civic GX, powered by compressed natural gas. Both automobiles, on sale nationwide, meet the most stringent exhaust emissions standard in the world -- California's Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard, emitting 96 percent less pollutants than a typical car.

"Honda supports the Tour de Sol because it is important that these bright young men and women pursue their dreams of cleaner mobility," said Honda spokesman Michael Tebo, who drove the event's pace car, a 2001 Honda Insight. "The Tour provides a valuable testing ground for the students' many innovations and ideas, and we commend their initiative and determination in exploring the viability of greener transportation options."

In last year's (2000) Tour, the Honda Insight placed first in fuel efficiency, achieving an average of 92-mpg over more than 300 miles, from New York City to Washington, DC.

For more information, go to NESEA's website - http://www.nesea.org.

* American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's "Green Book: The Environmental Guide To Cars and Trucks," 2001 rankings