Categorized | Multimedia

Car Show-Time

By Maria Clark, John De Petro, Xiomara Martinez-White, and Jessica Wakeman

The new hybrid 2010 Honda Insight rivaled the Toyota Prius both in price and efficiency at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.

While there was plenty of fanfare surrounding the costly sports cars on display, hundreds of potential buyers chose to make their way to the earth-friendly vehicles to scout out their next buy. Despite great interest surrounding the electric cars on display, it was the earth and pocket friendly hybrids that drew the biggest crowds.

Joseph Servidone, 58, drove down from Connecticut to view the latest and greatest in automobiles. He recently drove his first hybrid through the country roads near his home.

“My friend has a hybrid. They are so quiet and save a lot in gas money,” he said as he eyed the Honda FCX Clarity, a hydrogen powered car. “I’d like to get one of these, but I wouldn’t even begin to know how to fuel it.”

The Honda Civic Insight, a relatively affordable hybrid on display for $20,000, kept drawing eager passengers and drivers to test out its interior.

It’s main competitor, the Toyota Prius sells for an average of $26,672, according to the Prius website.

“This new Insight will give more people the chance to get behind the wheel of a high-quality hybrid vehicle,” said Tekeo Fukui, Honda’s CEO at the Paris Motor Show last October.

New to the vehicle is the Ecological Drive Assist System- or Eco Assist- feature. It uses a dashboard display and backlighting to guide the driver in how to increase fuel efficiency. Other options include a navigational system, Bluetooth and an iPod hookup. The first real-world road tests revealed that the 2010 Honda Insight can go 60 mpg at highway speeds.

Despite their popularity, hybrids make up only 3 percent of the domestic market. They are normally too expensive to catch on with the average consumer Mike Omotoso of J.D. Power and Associates told Wired.com.

“People want to buy what they know. They are comfortable with a car like the Insight. It’s affordable and the technology is not over the head of the average consumer,” said Chris Murphy a sales representative for Honda.

The 2010 Insight went on sale nationwide on April 22, Earth Day.

Bronx student Baldwin Lora, 18, discusses the future of automobiles and the environment.

Janice Dodge and her son 17-year-old Gregory consider buying a “green” car.

Racquel Palmese, managing editor of Green Technology Magazine: her organization recently held an environmental summit for the state of California. She says some towns have begun incorporating green technology into their transpotation, which she thinks can encourage the personal use of green technology, especially in cars.
[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/132/files/2009/05/racquel_palmese1.mp3]

For more coverage of the 2009 New York City International Auto Show, click here.

For a quick look at the history of alternative fuel, click here.

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