Five Years Have Passed Since A New Hybrid-Only Vehicle Came To Market

With all the talk about alternative powertrains and who has the most hybrids, one statistic stands out: It's been more than five years since the second-generation Toyota Prius hit showrooms, marking the most recent new vehicle to have been designed only as a hybrid. And, as hybridcars.com reports, that's a huge challenge for Honda as it prepares to introduce its new Honda hybrid Prius-fighter. Not only does the new car need impeccable aerodynamics and the ability to seat five, but it also needs to be easily distinguished as a hybrid, yet instantly identifiable as a Honda and not a Prius.

No matter how much they claim otherwise, hybrid buyers like to wear their green credentials on their sleeves. That's the beauty of the Prius: It can scream "green" without being covered with badging like the Tahoe Hybrid. It's smugness lies in its subtlety. So how can Honda rip off the Prius design while still producing a unique design? We're not sure, but if the artist's rendering on Hybrid Cars is anything remotely like the finished product, they apparently can't. [HybridCars.com]