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Mayor test-drives hybrid car


Mayor test-drives hybrid car

Waitakere City Mayor, Bob Harvey, is leading the charge for environmentally friendly cars by test-driving models that utilise new types of engines and fuel.

Mayor Harvey has started with the new Honda Civic Hybrid, which combines petrol and electricity to power the engine, reducing both petrol use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Honda Civic Hybrid is currently only sold in Japan and the United States, but Honda New Zealand has imported five to provide an opportunity for interested organisations and fleet users to evaluate it.

Mayor Harvey says he jumped at the chance to test-drive a car that is a world-leader in environmental vehicle technology.

“About half of our greenhouse gas emissions come from cars. They are the biggest contributors to air pollution and are now believed to kill more people than car crashes. New, efficient cars will help reduce emissions and provide an alternative to people who just can’t pull themselves out of their vehicles to walk, cycle or catch public transport,” Mayor Harvey says.

“In every respect, the Honda hybrid feels like a smart vehicle. There’s a new energy dial next to the petrol gauge and it shows you precisely when you are using power and when you are storing it. It’s like a game. Oddly enough, that same game teaches you better driving habits: slow down, be a smooth driver, accelerate slowly; which makes it perfectly suited for city driving and company fleets. Of course you can ignore the vehicle’s energy equations and you will still be doing the world a favour.”

The Civic Hybrid has a 1.3 litre, four-cylinder engine that operates in tandem with a new, battery powered, super-thin permanent magnet electric motor. Depending on the need, the car can run on either the petrol engine or both engines at once. Apart from driving the car, the petrol engine charges the battery, ensuring that it is always fully charged to drive the electric motor when needed.

When driving at a steady speed on a light throttle, the car uses the petrol engine exclusively, but the electric motor cuts in when extra power is required for hill climbing or acceleration. In this way, performance demands are met with a minimal effect on fuel consumption, accounting for the car’s very low fuel use. This was demonstrated at the recent Energywise Rally, where the Civic Hybrid used only 4.7 litres of petrol per 100km.

The car also saves on fuel is by automatically shutting off the petrol engine when the car comes to a stop and starting it again immediately when the throttle is depressed.

If you’d like to experience Honda’s hybrid technology, phone 0800 4 HONDA for more information.

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