12 years ago, Toyota introduced a revolutionary car, the Prius, on the market. It was a "hybrid" meaning its engine could switch between gas and electric drive modes. Now, the new Honda Insight is the best-selling car in Japan for the month of April. It is the first time ever that a hybrid car tops the list here in Japan (or anywhere in the world).
Other car makers have been much slower to introduce hybrid cars, and even Ford had to licence Toyota's technology in order to get its first hybrids on the road.
I don't own a car, and I don't plan to buy one (I love trains) but I do think we are witnessing a paradigm shift away from gas-guzzling automobiles, to an era where mobility means we only use energy resources as efficiently as possible.
I'm sorry to say that U.S. -owned car makers Volvo and SAAB are so far from this race that they frankly deserve to go under, unless they can start to make cars with fuel efficiency that match the hybrids - and why not? In Sweden, private purchasers of the Prius (or any other vehicle in the environmentally less destructive class) are awarded SEK 10,000 (roughly USD 1700, €1100) in order to stimulate sales and use of such vehicles. The subsidy program has been very successful.
And, perhaps this will be Honda's first European Car of the Year? Toyota Prius got the honours in 2005.
More about the Honda Insight over at Treehugger. Do comment and let people know what you think about this remarkable development. Things are indeed changing. Fast.
Reuters: Honda Insight first hybrid to rank top in Japan
More hybrid cars on Kurashi
Update: NHK World notes: Overall domestic sales of new Japanese vehicles fell 28 percent in April from a year earlier to an all-time low for the month. That is a huge drop.
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe