As I was loading groceries into the trunk of my '04 Honda Civic Hybrid, I saw the jumper cables I've had clunking around in the trunk for the past 8 months I've owned the car and wondered, "Do I even really need these?"

Has anybody ever had to jump-start their hybrid car? If the IMA motor is indeed the starter motor, and the IMA motor uses the 144 volt battery pack in the back (which is obviously not the batteries would use the jumper cables on -- yikes!), would the civic hybrid (or for that matter, other hybrids) ever need a jump-start?

If the 12V battery runs down completely for some reason (e.g., using a power inverter inside the car to power a laptop for too long), I am assuming that the IMA battery charges the 12V battery. Does anyone know more details about how the 12V battery gets charged?

Stephen Fenwick