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

September 14, 2005

Honda Debuts Improved Civic Hybrid as its Hybrid Sales Hit 100,000

Photo of the Honda Civic Hybrid.

The new Honda Civic Hybrid has something in common with the Toyota Prius: in certain conditions, it can run on battery power only.
Credit: Honda

Honda continues to improve on its hybrid vehicles, as the latest Civic Hybrid achieves an EPA estimated fuel economy of 50 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving, an increase of 6 percent in city driving and 4 percent in highway driving over the 2005 Civic Hybrid. The new vehicle achieves one of the toughest emission standards as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, or AT-PZEV, while also achieving a first for Honda: when cruising at low speeds, the engine can shut down all four of its cylinders and run on electric power only. The car debuted at the 2005 Sierra Club Summit in San Francisco, California. See the Honda press release.

The Civic Hybrid debut came just after Honda hit a milestone: the company has sold 100,000 hybrid vehicles in North America. The company was the first to sell hybrid vehicles in the United States when it introduced the Honda Insight in December 1999. See the Honda press release.

Of course, those sales numbers still leave Honda far behind Toyota, which had sold 100,000 Prius vehicles by the end of September 2004. Since then, the company has sold about 90,000 more. Californians alone have bought more than 60,000 Prius sedans, and now have an added incentive to buy the vehicle: Hybrids that achieve 45 miles per gallon or more are now allowed in California's carpool lanes. See the Toyota press releases from September 30th, 2004, January 4th, 2005, and August 11th, 2005, as well as the California Air Resources Board's list of vehicles that can drive in the carpool lanes.