Well Here is a e-mail I got from the Insightman, a long time ago, asking about the Insight II I just thought I would share it.
I love your email handle--were there already 4 other
Insight handles on cox.net when you registered?
Thanks for visiting my lame and seldom-updated website.
It's good you found Insight Central, Brian Pirie, the guy
who does that site has a lot more time to do a good job.
The original reason for the Insight was to catch up with
Toyota's Prius as quickly as possible. I know Honda had
been experimenting with their hybrid technology when
the Prius came out in Japan, but they didn't have a product
to sell. So they went on a crash program to build a car
that could achieve 70 mpg in the EPA mileage tests.
Honda didn't rely on just their superb engine and electric
motor technology (they won the international solar race
across Australia with one of their cars), but they pulled
in the engineers who created the all-aluminum NSX to
create the lightest by far automobile sold in the US. This
light weight contributes a lot to the high gas mileage.
Then they went all out to make the most aerodynamic
car you can buy. The old GM electric car had a lower
coefficient of drag than the Insight, but no other car
has a lower CD than the Insight.
The catch was that Honda couldn't build the Insight
in great quantities. They build the Insight on the same
line as the NSX and the S2000 sports car. It costs
way more to build than they sell it for. I'd love to have
been in the meeting when they decided the price. They
wanted to sell some, but not too many. I assume it
was sort of like an advertising expense.
The Insight sells for about $45,000 US in Australia
where it's not subsidized by Honda. They've sold
way fewer than 100 Insights there as a result.
They used the original Insight to claim the top mileage
figure, to beat the Prius to the US, and to serve as a
test bed for the Integrated Motor Assist technology,
which they planned to use in much greater numbers
in a more practical Civic hybrid.
Now that the Civic hybrid has been selling successfully
for years, the only reason Honda has continued to
sell the Insight is to maintain their place at the top of the
mileage charts. I'm surprised they've kept it around so
long. I don't expect to see it reappear in 2005, but I
have no inside info whatsoever, it's just a guess. It's not
a big seller at the price they set for it--just as they
As for a follow-up to the Insight, the only way it would
make sense is if they could sell it for more than the Insight.
The most obvious way to make people want it enough
to pay more is to make it into a performance car. There
are rumors that there will be a new CRX, which has been
absent since 1991. Maybe it will include some Insight
technology to lower the weight and use the IMA to
provide additional performance, like the new Accord
Attached are photos (small for viewing online and large, in
case you want to print them out) of the IMAS show car that
appeared at the auto show in Detroit last January. It reportedly
gets 90 mpg. The carbon fiber construction makes it much lighter
even than the aluminum Insight, but it would be verrrry expensive.
Here's the press info:
Lightweight hybrid sports car that cuts through the breeze like a bicycle
The bicycle; a highly maneuverable environmentally friendly means of transportation that responds to a rider's every whim.
The IMAS: a sports car designed to provide that same invigorating cutting-through-the-breeze feeling.
The design concept was to combine environmentally friendly performance with fun-to-drive sports car performance in an advanced, lightweight, aerodynamic package.
The body is made mainly of super light carbon fibre and aluminum -- the overall weight is just 700 kg.
A sweeping aerodynamic shape helps achieve a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.20.
The efficient power plant is an update of Honda's IMA system.
Outstanding aerodynamics, light weight and a "green" power plant for bicycle - like freedom of movement - that's what the new-age lightweight IMAS sports car is all about.
Dimensions: 4050 x 1755 x 1300 (l x w x h)
So there's hope that Honda will again make something like the Insight,
but don't hold your breath. There will always be used Insights around
when you get up the cash to buy one. I love driving mine every day
because it requires skill to maximize the gas mileage and that makes
every drive interesting.