Bangkok, 7 August, 2000 -- A group of Thai motoring journalists driving a Honda Insight hybrid petrol/electric automobile on a nearly 2,000-km. trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai via Phitsanuloke and back have established Thailand's first official fuel economy record with an average petrol consumption of 43.71 km/litre.
According to Prachin Eamlumnao, Secretary-General of the Royal Automobile. Association of Thailand (RAAT), supervisor of the record attempt, the Honda Insight performed exceptionally well over the mixed urban / highway route, which included numerous stops to change drivers and visits to Sukhothai, Phitsanuloke and the Bhumibol Dam.
"This first official fuel economy record comes at the right time when public attention is focused on the high price of petrol," said Mr. Prachin. "The Honda Insight demonstrated the fuel economy potential of advanced hybrid engine technology, and now it is time for all of us to help conserve energy. I believe this event will pave the way for increasing fuel conservation efforts in Thailand."
Mr. Satoshi Toshida, President and Chief Executive Officer, Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Honda's Bangkok-based ASEAN regional headquarters, congratulated the Thai motoring journalists for their outstanding accomplishment.
"This record of 43.71 km./litre will heighten public awareness of the benefits of conserving fuel, especially at this time of record high petrol prices and growing concern for the environment and the dangers of global warming," he said.
The Honda Insight was first introduced in Japan, in November , 1999 and earlier this year became the first hybrid vehicle to go on sale in the United States. The Insight's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid engine combines a 1-litre VTEC-topped petrol engine with a 10kW electric motor. The 1-litre, 3-cylinder, lean-burn VTEC engine is also the world's lightest 1-litre engine. It is based on Honda's proprietary VTEC technology which is widely used in many Honda automobiles to achieve maximum fuel efficiency combined with high power out put .The Insight's emission levels are some 50 percent cleaner than those schedule for official introduction in Japan in October, 2000.
To achieve its world-leading fuel economy the Insight combines an ultra-efficient power unit with super-aerodynamics and an ultra-light, all aluminium construction. The IMA hybrid engine was recently voted the "Best Engine of the Year" in the International Engine of the Year 2000 Awards sponsored by Engine Technology International Magazine. According to the magazine's editor, the Insight's IMA hybrid engine set the scene for one of the key engine design trends of the new millennium. Advanced hybrid technology is seen by many industry observers as one of the next most likely technologies of choice for mass market automobiles, pending the full-scale introduction of fuel cell power plants.
Mr. Shunichi Yoshida, Honda R&D Japan, provided technical support for the fuel economy record attempt. He also congratulated the Thai motoring journalists for achieving such outstanding fuel economy during very varied driving conditions which ranged from expressway cruising with sunny skies to thunderstorms and narrow, winding, hill roads to traffic jams in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
"This is an even better result than we have achieved in Japan," he said.
For the total round trip of 1,989 kms., the Honda Insight consumed 45.503 litres of petrol which cost Baht 743 ($US18.6). For the Bangkok-Phitsanuloke-Chiangmai leg of the trip, which was 998 kms., the Insight consumed 24.735 litres of petrol, which cost Baht 407 (US$10.2), for an average consumption of 40.33 km/litre. On the return leg to Bangkok of 991 kms., the Insight consumed 20.768 litres of petrol which cost Baht 336 (US$8.4) for an average consumption of 47.7 km/litre.
(The current exchange rate is Baht40/US$1)