This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 15, 2004

Honda Debuts Its Third Hybrid Vehicle, the Accord Hybrid

The 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid went on sale in the United States on December 10th. Honda's third hybrid vehicle carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $29,990. The vehicle comes standard with a large number of luxury add-ons that make it essentially equivalent (with the exception of a moon roof) to a Honda Accord EX V-6, which carries an MSRP of $26,700. Based on that comparison, the markup for the hybrid system is about $3,290. The Accord Hybrid with a 5-speed automatic transmission has earned fuel economy ratings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of 29 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

The Accord Hybrid employs the third generation of Honda's hybrid propulsion system in combination with its new cylinder deactivation technology, which shuts down three of the cylinders while cruising. The vehicle generates 255 peak horsepower (hp)—6 percent more than the Accord V-6 Sedan—with "a remarkably broad and flat torque curve," according to Honda. See the Honda press release.

Photo of a room full of SMART cars undergoing modifications.

SMART cars are being upgraded to U.S. standards at a California facility in preparation for going on sale in early 2005.
Credit: ZAP

While Honda launches its largest and most powerful hybrid to date, ZAP, a seller of advanced-technology vehicles, is preparing to market the tiny SMART two-passenger vehicle in the United States. The vehicle is manufactured in France by smart gmbh, a DaimlerChrysler company, and ZAP has earned approval from the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation to sell a modified version in the United States. The SMART features a six-speed transmission and a 61-hp, 3-cylinder turbocharged engine. Although ZAP claims the SMART achieves 60 mpg, EPA tests pegged it at 37 mpg. ZAP intends to start selling the SMART in early 2005 and is currently auctioning off one vehicle on e-Bay. See the ZAP press releases and SMART Web page.