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ENGINEERING: Koji Ninomiya, Accord Hybrid large project leader, Honda Motor Co.
 
Ninomiya, 43, achieved eye-popping numbers for the electric-gasoline sedan
a 50 mpg EPA rating at a sub-$30,000 base price. Ninomiya, a chassis engineer, marshaled a slew of engineering tricks and new technologies to crack the 50-mpg barrier, including a 2.0-liter, inline-four engine that switches in and out of the Atkinson combustion cycle to save fuel, a lightweight lithium ion battery and a brake regeneration system that activates as soon as the driver lets off the accelerator. The result
a class-leading hybrid that puts Honda back in the green car race and raises the bar for rivals.