Honda Steers Hybrid to Mass Market
> INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - The car, with an electric motor boosting its small gasoline engine, has easily climbed a tortuous road to the 4,000-foot level in the mountains here. On its descent, kinetic energy produced by braking has been captured and used to recharge the batteries that power the motor.
Now, zooming down an access ramp to Interstate 10, its speed climbs effortlessly to 75 miles an hour. Pressure on the gas pedal is eased and the speed drops to 65. A gauge on the dash indicates that, at this cruising speed, the four-door, five-passenger sedan is getting 58 miles per gallon of gasoline.
This is not an experimental car. The 2003 Honda Civic gasoline/electric hybrid, available at Honda dealers beginning this spring, is a car that environmentalists, auto industry analysts, and even Honda's competitors say is a very significant new vehicle.
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