With imagination to encircle the world and in the innovative tradition of its founder Soichiro Honda, Honda Motor Company, created the Honda Insight--the first gas-electric hybrid car--and rolled it out in 2000.
The original hybrid was a two-seater with a sales sticker of $20,000; the hatchback was a three-cylinder with a 1.0 liter gas engine and 10-kilowatt electric motor.
Unlike previous electric cars, the Insight's nickel-metal hydride battery was not plugged in to recharge. Amazingly, the car's braking and coasting wheels and gas engine handled the recharge.
"Change is inevitable in a progressive country," observed philosopher Benjamin Disraeli. "Change is constant."
Critics reviewed this four-wheeled global warming crusader as cramped, underpowered, and noisy, but Honda called it "a true modern-day miracle" and environmentalists loved it.
The Sierra Club awarded the 2000 model its Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award. "This car proves that the technology exists to dramatically clean up the pollution," credited Dan Becker, Director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program.
The fuel-efficient five-speeder which tallied 61 miles per gallon in the city and 70 on the highway was first sold in December 2000. The 2005 version, hailed by Honda as having "more power, less gas," featured a 255- horsepower Accord that could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds with 37 miles-per-gallon on the highway.
"It isn't every millennium the Sierra Club praises a car," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "The Honda Insight... marks the beginning of the automotive industry utilizing 21st Century technology."
And the future belongs to the imaginative. With the Honda Insight, or Lee Iacocca's E-bikes, changes are coming in bursts of vibrant colors.
As Charles Kettering, the inventor of the first electrical ignition system, observed, "We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there."
Imagine the possibilities...