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The Insight's internal combustion engine is an in-line three-cylinder with a displacement of 995cc. Its design includes comprehensive weight-reducing and friction-reducing features which ensure fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly operation. The engine employs a VTEC mechanism which maximizes running performance by optimizing the valve timing and lift at all engine speeds.
Very precise control over fuel injection, a strong air-fuel swirl created in the combustion chamber, a new linear air-fuel sensor and lean-burn NOx catalyst allows the use of stratified-charge lean burn combustion technology. The Insight's engine will operate on air-fuel ratios as low as 22:1, meaning that the amount of fuel drawn into the engine can be reduced to much lower than that of a typical 1.0 liter gasoline engine which operates at 14.7:1. This happens under light load conditions, which will often include cruising as fast as highway speeds.
Stratified-charge combustion means that the air-fuel ratio isn't equal throughout the cylinder. Instead, precise control over fuel injection allows a greater concentration of fuel closer to the spark plug, further improving combustion efficiency.
New Transmission Design
Honda engineers designed a completely new 5-speed manual transmission for the Insight. Like the rest of the Insight, its new transmission is designed to be as lightweight and as compact as possible, and is sized to the power requirements of the IMA system. The new transmission weighs just 91 pounds and is 9.25 pounds lighter and almost a half an inch shorter than the current Civic manual transmission.
In order to minimize power loss within the transmission, the gears have been carefully machined to reduce rotational mass. The transmission's lubricating system has also been redesigned to provide more efficient lubrication with a smaller oil capacity; thereby saving additional weight and size.
The transmission's shift linkage operates smoothly, with minimal effort, thanks to the use of shortened synchronizer sleeves and a redesigned reverse-gear mechanism. A neutral switch built into the transmission tells the IMA idle-stop feature when the transmission is in neutral.