Automania by Dr. Iain Corness

Honda joins the eco-club

Honda eco-Brio

With the apparent success of the Nissan March, the first eco-car off the mark in Thailand in March 2010, Honda has said it will join the eco-market with its Brio in a five door hatchback configuration. Honda’s small car will be on sale in March 2011, according to Honda CEO Takanobu Ito and the projected base price will be THB 400,000.

This is slightly more than the Nissan March, which certainly stole a march on the rest of the local auto manufacturers. Now appearing with wider wheels, flares and ‘go-faster’ stripes, it is becoming quite attractive.

Brio interior

Honda claims it will be using a very high percentage of local content for the new eco-car, which will have a 1.2 liter gasoline engine, and most likely a five speed manual transmission, though judging by the interior photograph, an automatic transmission will be an option. The interior looks quite smart, though it is difficult to envisage ‘size’ in the picture.

Honda will develop unique versions for Thailand and India to reflect different customer needs in those markets. Moreover, with this vehicle, Honda will leverage the resources Honda has cultivated through its motorcycle business and utilize local sourcing of parts and materials such as sheet steel.

For the Thai model that is scheduled to be introduced in March 2011, the fuel economy of better than 5 liters/100 km will be met so that the vehicle will qualify as an eco-car by the Thai government.

For the Indian model that is scheduled to be introduced within 2011, local customer needs for a small car will be reflected and local content will be increased to create a model that achieves a good balance between vehicle performance and price.

“Honda would like to expand the joy of mobility to more customers in Thailand, India and other Asian countries through the introduction of a new small vehicle with compact and highly efficient packaging by utilizing our own experiences cultivated by motorcycle business here in Asia,” said Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor.

New prize fund at Isle of Man (IOM)

A new prize fund has been added to encourage more colleges and universities to enter the TT Zero races and hopefully join the TT Zero 100 Club introduced to recognize the first 100 mph laps by electric motorcycles.

The Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development has confirmed that the ground-breaking TT Zero Clean Emissions Motorcycle Race will again take place on the Isle of Man in 2011 as part of the TT Races. The race is now in its third year and is used by the Department as a showcase for the Isle of Man’s Clean Tech capabilities as well as encouraging enterprise and innovation.

Electric bike at the IOM

Allan Bell MHK, Minister, Department of Economic Development, commented, “Running the electric bike race as part of the TT Races has given us an excellent platform to demonstrate the Isle of Man’s clean tech capabilities. This event continues to offer best in practice development and puts the island at the heart of innovative design and groundbreaking technology.”

The Department has also created a new ‘University Prize’ of ฃ5,000, which will be awarded to the fastest University or College team as part of the 2011 Race. University teams representing Kingston, Imperial and Brunel have already experienced the event and will be among the favorites for the prize.

The Isle of Man Government has also confirmed that there will be an iconic ‘100 Club’ set up for the first 10 teams who are able to record a 100 mph lap on an clean emissions bike. Each of the ten will also receive an iconic limited edition replica trophy, designed by a local Manx artist. Each of the trophies will be individually numbered.

It is not expected that all ten trophies will be given away in 2011. To date no team has achieved the landmark time around the almost 38 mile (60 km) course, with the current lap record holder for the class, last year’s winner, Moto Czysz, recording a winning time of 96.82 mph (23:22.89) average lap speed. This means that the ฃ10,000 prize on offer from the Isle of Man Government to the first team to record the prestigious mark is also still available in 2011.

The event has already attracted a number of individuals, universities and businesses worldwide and to date seven countries have been represented - UK, Isle of Man, USA, India, Germany, Austria and Sweden. This year new countries and teams are expected to participate in the race, which will take place on Wednesday 8th June 2011.

Interest in the TT Zero clean emissions bike race is growing since the first race in 2009 and North One Television, who control the sales and distribution of the TT Races, has confirmed that this year the programming will include an in-depth analysis of the TT Zero race in their international highlights package which will go out on leading broadcasters worldwide. The event has also attracted significant media coverage to date, both from core bike media as well as national, broadcast and specialist technology press worldwide.

Autotrivia Quiz

Look at the photo. I want the car, the year and the man. The clue: GM.
This week I asked, look at the photo. I want the car, the year and the man. The clue: GM. It was Harley Earl the GM designer and the 1938 Buick.

Quiz Car