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Old 06-14-2019, 11:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default IMA light on...gas mileage SKYROCKETS! (Photo proof!)

Got a weird one for you, but I think it makes sense

I've had my 06 Insight since February (love it!!), and have averaged about 58 mpg. Not too bad.

That being said...I think the car has been trying to charge a failing battery this entire time. I would notice 4 green charge bars maybe 80% of the time while driving, and the orange battery meter would shoot up and down frequently.

Here's where it gets interesting........

The inevitable finally happened....IMA light came on this week.

Since then, the car doesn't try to charge, nor give me assist at all. That part makes sense.

BUT, because those 4 green charge bars aren't constantly trying to charge the battery, my fuel economy has shot up to 90-100mpg!! (See the photo! I just took a 15.9 mile drive, and got 90.7mpg!!)

Here's my really curious question, and I'd love to get your thoughts

If I'm getting 90.7mpg with the IMA light on, why in the world would I ever spend a ton of money to fix this??

Please let me know if I'm missing something obvious, but if this car runs this efficiently without hybrid assist, I'm sort of wondering what the point of the heavy battery is altogether?

Thanks!!
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A failing battery pack causing a decrease in fuel economy is something that has been well documented here over the years.

So why would you want to fix the IMA light?

If you do nothing, your 12V will stop charging at some point once the HV battery pack gets bad enough, potentially leaving you stranded.

If you were to actually "fix" your IMA battery (grid charge, new pack, lithium ect.) You could reasonably expect to see similar to better fuel economy without the attendant negatives such as weak acceleration and no regenerative braking.
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Old 06-15-2019, 03:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you decide to permanently remove the pack, search this forum for "How to completely remove your IMA battery."
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies and ideas!

I might go the route of removing the battery completely. I will research this option. I can deal with the weak acceleration - I typically accelerate very slowly on purpose to help with fuel economy.

And, with the battery weighing about 65 pounds, and the car weighing 1900 pounds - I'm wondering if a 3.4% weight reduction might help just a pinch.

At this point, I'm just not seeing the return on a $2000 investment in a new battery when I'm still getting 90+ mpg That being said, if I'm forced to get another battery to keep the car on the road, I will buy another...or just keep reconditioning it

If you have any other thoughts or guidance, that would be great! In exchange, I'll post my progress, successes, headaches

Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You have no emissions inspection?
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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15 miles doesn't really tell you anything. See what you get for a whole tank first. It won't be 90 MPG, probably more like 60. My car with no IMA got around 65 on a road trip, and I'm a pretty good hypermiler. I hate driving that car with no power.

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Old 06-15-2019, 01:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bypass the dead IMA and save a bunch of weight!
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Keep the ima battery installed, but bypassed

The ima battery might come back if it is bypassed and not being used. The ima battery might later be used for a core charge if you want to get another one.
I would keep the battery in the car, but bypass the battery.
Unfortunately, I cannot help you with bypassing it.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There are several different ways to bypass a battery. One is just disconnecting the computers - you'll have a CEL but the car should drive fine. Another is an Arduino-based bypass which turns off the CEL. If you're handy with a soldering iron and know how to upload code to an arduino via USB you can whip one up in as little as half an hour.

With the battery disabled, 75% of what's in the back is no longer used. You can choose to keep the very robust but ultimately quite large factory DC-DC converter, or switch it out for a much smaller unit, though they don't tend to handle hot climates as well.

Be aware that with the battery bypassed, you will no longer have auto-stop or regenerative braking, both of which have real-world fuel economy benefits.

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Old 06-16-2019, 11:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HondaInsighter06 View Post
Please let me know if I'm missing something obvious, but if this car runs this efficiently without hybrid assist, I'm sort of wondering what the point of the heavy battery is altogether?

Thanks!!
I don't see that anyone answered this bit. Sorry if I missed it.

Go for a drive in town with frequent stop lights and idling. You will see "the point of the heavy battery". Your in-town driving will likely drop into the 30s.

I think you have it partially figured out. Yes, the car was trying to charge the battery frequently robbing you of about 1 hp of ICE power. When cruising at conservative highway speeds in a light aerodynamic 1.0L, you are going to get very good mileage with a low power requirement. That 1hp represents a very significant portion of the power required to push you down the road on flat ground at 65mph. Remove that intermittent 1 hp demand, and you should see a notable bump in mileage.

As a new owner, you probably haven't figured out that the hybrid system does essentially nothing for you at highway cruise. It's simply a very efficient ICE car at that point. It can help with mild elevation changes, but not by much.

The Hybrid system is essentially nothing more than a kinetic energy recovery and release system. It converts your forward energy into battery chemical energy, provides a means of powering the car while stopped thus saving on gas with no idle and then releasing the stored energy during acceleration - a brutally inefficient phase of driving.
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