Honda Insight Has Several Advantages for Tulsa Woman

Sunday, May 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

You may have seen a new kind of car on the highways in Tulsa, but you likely didn't see it at the gas pump.

A Tulsa woman has one of the first Honda "Insight" - a car that runs on a combination of gasoline and electricity.

When Susan Hightower steps in to her car and turns the key, it barely makes a noise - and when she gets on the road, it's easy on gasoline, and sometimes uses no gasoline.

Her new car, the Honda "Insight", is a gas and electric hybrid which is one of the first in mass production.

The gas engine gets the car moving and then an electric motor takes over to save fuel.

"So it goes sort of back between gas and electricity as you're driving it, and there's a gauge here that shows what you're using, either the electricity or the gasoline," says Susan Hightower, Insight owner.

And though she's still on her first tank, the car is getting better than 50 miles per gallon.

"Predicted mileage on this car is 70 miles on the highway on 60 miles in city driving," says Tim Samejo of Don Carlton Honda.

The car has a small gasoline engine under the hood.

"This is a one-liter, 72 hp, Honda motor," says Samejo.

It also has a bank of batteries in the back.

"And the battery charges automatically while you're driving the car," Samejo says.

The car's range is unlimited, since gasoline generates the electricity, but it is small with only two seats.

"The size of the car is it's limitation, but I would say that's it," says Hightower.

Hightower says she gets lot of questions about the car -since it's one of only two in Tulsa.

She bought because it's easy on the environment, and so far is spending more time at the car wash than the gas pumps.

The Insight costs just over 20- thousand dollars. It's the first mass-production hybrid car, but models from other manufactures will come out before the end of the year.