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Mixing green and performance


The overwhelming theme of the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show was zero emissions and how we go about getting there.

Every manufacturer showed the latest and greatest of the 'green' machines in a variety of forms. There were EVs (electric vehicles), hybrids and combinations of the two combined.

As a rule, green machines don't normally scream excitement at motoring enthusiasts, but there was one that I think will find its way into the heart of the even the last non-environmentalist driver among us.

HONDA CR-Z CONCEPT

First up, don't be fooled by the concept tag, this one will happen and we will get it. I hope it ends up as displayed here in Tokyo -- minus the back seat. It is very compact, super good looking and it tackles a part of the market that has clearly been left out.

The production version introduced to Canada in the second half of 2010 will be packaged as a sporty, two-seat hybrid. The production version will make its world debut at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"The new Honda CR-Z will expand our lineup of hybrid vehicles and reinforce the fun-to-drive values associated with the Honda brand," said Jerry Chenkin, executive vice president of Honda Canada Inc. "Beyond dynamic styling and features, the CR-Z will bring new levels of engagement and fun to Canadians who are interested in a small car or a hybrid vehicle."

Powered by a 1.5L I-VTEC engine with Honda's IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) and featuring a six-speed manual transmission (a hybrid first), CR-Z aims to tackle the hardest group of buyers to talk into a hybrid --the sport minded crowd. Looks alone will go a long way for the CR-Z simply because it doesn't look like the stereotypical hybrid; I believe it will have the same effect on sports buyers as the original Acura RSX had.

It's evident manufacturers still aren't clear on which way technology will go to get us to the zero emission promised land and none is putting all its eggs in one basket by committing to a dedicated EV or Fuel Cell.

It's satisfying to see several manufacturers have figured out that hybrid and sport minded can co-exist. Sooner or later we'll all have to change to hybrids or EVs, and it looks as if enthusiasts and sport minded drivers won't be left out in the cold.


Read the full article here.
 
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