The Stig’s flying hybrids
The Stig tries to make ultra-frugal hybrids oversteer, and then jumps them over a humpbacked bridge
Posted: 09 Nov 2010
The Honda's system, called IMA (Integrated Motor Assist), uses a much smaller electric motor of only 13bhp to - as the name suggests - assist the petrol engine. It uses that engine, a 1.3-litre, 89bhp unit, all the time when the car is moving - that is, it always turns. But it doesn't always use fuel. In the right conditions, on a gentle throttle at speeds of up to 30mph, the electric motor alone will power the car, while the petrol engine shuts off some of its bits in a clever fashion and drinks not a drop of gas, even though the crankshaft is still turning. However, the very fact that it's turning means that the system is less efficient than the Toyota's. The upside being that it is that much simpler and, crucially, cheaper to make. It is also lighter: the Insight weighs 1237kg, the Prius a full 143kg more. That will be critical when the cars leave the ground completely, later.