A HYBRID REFRESHER

Rolf Lockwood

May 20, 2009 Vol. 5, No. 10

I’ve been ignoring hybrids lately, it seems to me, so let me start this issue of Lockwood’s Product Watch with a pretty surprising revelation. It has nothing to do with trucks, not much with North America, but it’s a milestone of sorts that points to a way forward.

Honda’s little Insight car is the first hybrid to rank as the best-selling vehicle in Japan.

It topped all new car registrations in Japan for the month of April 2009 with a sales tally of 10,481 units. The Insight debuted in 1999 in North America, the first such vehicle, but the Toyota Prius came on strong and soon led the hybrid sales charts, as it still does. That first-generation Insight was produced until 2006 as a 3-door hatchback and total global sales amounted only to about 18,000 units.

The second generation Insight marked the brand’s comeback. Now a proper 5-door hatchback with a new look, it went on sale in Japan in February 2009 and here by the end of March.

Now on to serious, manly vehicles. We can even stick with Honda, sort of.

PETERBILT RECENTLY SUPPLIED AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CAR with a Smartway-certified Model 386 hybrid tractor that should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 45 tons per year, compared to its diesel counterpart. Honda’s the first car maker to travel this route, putting the Pete into the truck fleet at its parts center in Alpharetta, Ga. That fleet, operated by UPS Freight Truckload, typically travels 300,000 miles a day.

Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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