Toyota won the first hybrid car battle with the Prius, having beaten out Honda’s Insight at the turn of this century. But Honda’s back for their next at bat, and strangely enough it’s called the Insight again. Quite frankly I completely forgot about the Insight, so Honda’s probably thinking that most people are like me, and don’t see any brand baggage connected with that oops. I think Toyota’s and Honda’s approach of radically changing the design of their hybrids so they are immediately recognized as a different kind of car is very smart. Other manufacturers have simply added an H or slapped a badge on the fender and back bumper. It doesn’t give them or the driver credit for having made a more responsible, forward-looking choice.
The Insight will be officially unveiled next month and will be available for purchase sometime in 2009. This is great news; the more the better. Hopefully the big three U.S. automakers will raise their game. We will be watching closely as Chevy brings their electric car Volt to the marketplace.
Companies as well as government should do more to encourage the makers and consumers. At my company they just announced preferred parking spots for employees who drive a green car to work. Very cool. What if we gave free parking anywhere to all electric vehicles? How do you think that would shake things up?