WASHINGTON, D.C. — The newly released 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid offers outstanding environmental performance in a mass-market package, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, publisher of ACEEE's Green Book®: The Environmental Guide to Cars and Trucks. The organization has added the Civic Hybrid to its early model year 2003 ratings on GreenerCars.org, the online version of its comprehensive environmental guide to vehicles.
"By offering a hybrid trimline option on the popular Civic model, Honda has in effect declared environmentally friendly hybrid technology fit for mass consumption," stated James Kliesch, Green Book co-author and Research Associate at ACEEE. The other hybrid-electric models currently on sale in the U.S. are Toyota's compact sedan Prius and Honda's two-seater Insight.
"What makes the Civic Hybrid extraordinary," declared John DeCicco, lead author of the Green Book and Senior Fellow at Environmental Defense, "is the fact that fuel economy is increased by over 30% in what is already one of the most efficient vehicles on the market. And Honda has done so in a top-of-the-line package that offers greater amenities with no compromise in the features, comfort, and safety that car buyers expect."
Achieving 46 miles-per-gallon (MPG) in the city and 51 MPG on the highway with the 5-speed manual transmission, the Civic Hybrid can travel more than 600 miles on a single tank of gas. The automatic transmission (CVT) version achieves 48 MPG in the city and 47 on the highway. "This efficiency boost, along with the Civic Hybrid's Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (ULEV) rating, gives it a Green Score of 46 for both versions, making it one of the top five greenest vehicles now on the market," stated Kliesch. ACEEE's rating system accounts for both health-threatening tailpipe pollution and global warming emissions.
"The Civic Hybrid's Green Score places it squarely in line with the nationally available version of the Toyota Prius," added Kliesch. A greener, Super-Ultra-Low-Emission (SULEV)-certified version of the Prius is available in California and New England, while the greenest vehicle of model year 2002 is the SULEV-certified Honda Insight, with a Green Score of 57. Honda plans to sell a greener, SULEV-certified version of the Civic Hybrid in California beginning January 2003.
The Civic Hybrid uses Honda's second-generation Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system, coupling a 1.3-liter i-DSI gasoline engine to a 13-horsepower, 144-volt electric motor. "Although one of Honda's goals was to produce a hybrid-electric Civic that feels like a conventional one, make no mistake - this car is chock-full of advanced technologies," commented DeCicco. "Take, for example, the sophistication of the newly designed engine. In each cylinder are dual spark plugs programmed to fire either simultaneously or sequentially, in order to maintain efficient lean-burn operation. Additionally, cylinders can idle when the vehicle coasts, allowing more energy to be recaptured and fed back into the battery, further boosting efficiency."
"To summarize, Honda met the goal of putting a hybrid system in a mass-market vehicle," stated Kliesch. "That's a significant accomplishment toward furthering the marketability of this exciting new technology."
The Green Scores announced today for the Civic Hybrid are considered preliminary, since the car is a 2003 model. Final scores of all model year 2003 vehicles will be released in the next edition of ACEEE's Green Book®, but results are not expected to change significantly.
ACEEE's Green Book® is available online at GreenerCars.org, along with monthly and annual subscriptions to an interactive database of model year 2000, 2001, and 2002 vehicles. The print edition of ACEEE's Green Book®: The Environmental Guide to Cars and Trucks may be ordered for $8.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling direct from ACEEE or GreenerCars.org, or purchased at major retail booksellers. Bulk sales discounts are also available. For further information, contact ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail: email@example.com.