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Old 01-24-2010, 02:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Old Hypermiler, New Hybrid

Hi All-

First I would like to say Hi, and thanks in advance for any assistance. I have read some of the entries in this forum and found them informative -- but I have a few more questions...

The Hypermiling (or "EcoDriving") bug bit me around 5 years ago while driving a '98 Integra 3-Door Automatic. Since then, I have experimented on everything from cylinder deactivation, to warmer air intake temps, to name a few. I feel that driving style is important, but the effect of vehicle modifications can also boost fuel economy and cannot be ignored after properly and Scientifically tested. The result was a change in FE from 26/baseline to an average of about 34 MPG over that time, with peak tanks in the low 40's. I have been a forum moderator at EcoModder dot com for a couple of years, which is a site dedicated to helping users achieve better mileage in just about anything. I'm here to delve into model-specific details of the Second Gen Insight.

I look forward to testing techniques and modifications -- and hopefully return the favor with the offer of posting specific data through the use of tools such as the ScanGauge-II and Davis CarChip E/X OBD-II datalogger. I don't like to change things without some sort of data monitoring/collection, specific declaration of how the data was recorded (including specifications of the equipment) reporting, and perhaps holding a discussion of the results. Without first debunking false claims, we can only drive blind and hope for the best.

So with the need for a new 5-door (and after months of research), I bought a new I2 at the end of last year. (EX, Black over Dark Blue, no options). The Integra is still around as a solid 3rd car for transporting large items, NWS storm tracking, and some of the harsher Winter driving. I really enjoy the new Insight -- it has the right price tag, Honda personality and reliability, and a significant boost in expected fuel economy from what I have currently.

I'm new to driving hybrids. I rented a few Prius(es), but for just a few days. Now, I'm left with a big question mark. What does this hybrid like for best FE, and how should it be driven for that purpose? I have a technical machine without the shop manual to scour for feedback loops and algorithms to even make some physical modications. Questions come up like, does the i-DSi prefer warmer air (or does it richen the A/F ratio to prevent detonation). Another big question is the day-to-day operation -- are there advanced techniques out there?

Again, thanks in advance for any advice (and for tolerating my long intro)

Best Regards,
Rick "RH77"
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm new to driving hybrids. I rented a few Prius(es), but for just a few days. Now, I'm left with a big question mark. What does this hybrid like for best FE, and how should it be driven for that purpose?
Some basics...

Easy on the throttle, try and stay below 2000 RPM.

Coast around when you can.

Monitor tire pressure. OEM is 34, Max is 44. You choose comfort setting. In the winter I run 34, in the summer 40.

Try to avoid short trips.

If you have hills use gravity to help go done and accelerate and then use that momemtum to help get up the hill.

If you do that, in the summer expect MPGs in the 50s. Even in the New England winter still getting close to 50 by following some basic adjustments to driving.

I use fuelly to track everything.

If you car is new, may take a bit to get it "loosened" up for higher MPG.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You are asking us for help and you own ecomodder???

Its a car just like Integra and everything you did with it and posted on that site helps you get supreme economy.

It has the L series SOHC DSI engine 1.3l same as the fit/jazz if that helps and matching cvt tranny.

My highest on semi level surface is 79.5mpg going 25-40mph.

Interstate, 63mpg, city 54 stop n go driving.

35mph seems to be the slowest you can go to max out fuel economy. I get between 70-74 at those speeds, but cant drive that slow everywhere.



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Old 01-25-2010, 10:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jraynor196 View Post
Some basics...

Easy on the throttle, try and stay below 2000 RPM. Coast around when you can.
Monitor tire pressure. OEM is 34, Max is 44. You choose comfort setting. In the winter I run 34, in the summer 40. Try to avoid short trips. If you have hills use gravity to help go done and accelerate and then use that momemtum to help get up the hill. If you do that, in the summer expect MPGs in the 50s. Even in the New England winter still getting close to 50 by following some basic adjustments to driving. I use fuelly to track everything.If you car is new, may take a bit to get it "loosened" up for higher MPG.
Thanks for the info -- it doesn't look too much different than driving a typical gasser automatic. A few follow-up questions, though...

-To stay below 2000 RPM, do you use the paddle shifters to drop the revs?
-Do you see a point where Neutral-Coast would outweigh the drag of batt charge and fuel-cut? I assume engine-off coasting would toast the CVT and cause excessive restart consumption...
-I overinflate the Integra's tires (Michelins) during warmer months (50 psi on 44 max). After 35K miles, there hasn't been any cupping, unusual wear, or puncture issues. I am very comfortable running those pressures (as are many others I have spoken with). Are the Dunlops reliable enough for 50? In the past, I had some quality issues with that brand.
-The car is still pretty new (500 miles) -- it's good to know that it gets better with age. Tank #1 was a little over 39 MPG in some heavy snow and cold.

I understand that the IMA system is a give-and-take -- assist helps FE, but requires charge, which uses fuel, etc. To scrub extra speed on off-ramps, I'm used to downshifting to keep the engine in fuel-cut. With IMA, does downshifting offer more charge, or is it better to squeeze the brakes? Using brakes is taking some getting used to, but I like seeing that charge needle get buried

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobb View Post
You are asking us for help and you own ecomodder???

Its a car just like Integra and everything you did with it and posted on that site helps you get supreme economy.

It has the L series SOHC DSI engine 1.3l same as the fit/jazz if that helps and matching cvt tranny.

My highest on semi level surface is 79.5mpg going 25-40mph.

Interstate, 63mpg, city 54 stop n go driving.

35mph seems to be the slowest you can go to max out fuel economy. I get between 70-74 at those speeds, but cant drive that slow everywhere.
I wish I owned a successful site! I'm just a volunteer moderator and occasional Blog contributor at EcoModder. To answer your question, I'm here to get the scoop from Insight experts.

I drive quite a few miles for work -- often in rental cars, which is my problem -- I'm far from being an "Expert Hypermiler". I just drive too many miles for the patience of pulse-and-glide, or slower highway speeds. I enjoy the research, experimentation, and conversation. The challenge and possibility of a full tank of fuel is intriguing (the "driving technique" side), but at the same time, I've used several mods to boost that final MPG number.

Did lowering the ride height help with air flow or corner momentum? It seems pretty stiff now -- how does it ride?

I really wanted an engine block heater (and floormats ), but dealer negotiations broke down into an out-the-door price on a basic EX on the color combo I wanted (it had to be dealer-traded from St. Louis).

The Integra runs most efficiently at an intake air temp of 100-110F with full timing advance. I block the radiator in winter and lightly blocked in hotter months to run at higher engine temps (and faster warmup / quicker torque converter lockup). Not sure of the rationale after warmup, but experimentation shows that it works.

So, with the high compression and dual ignition of the L-Series, is there an intake air temp sweet spot where A/F ratios aren't too inefficient with cold air, or to prevent detonation at high temps?

Last, is there an engine load number to shoot for on acceleration from a stop? Some have said to get up to speed quickly, others recommend a gradual rate of increase.

I tend to ask a lot of questions I just need to get to know the car to get that maximum FE. Thanks again for the advice!

RH77
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The only time I have used the paddle shifters is going down a steep grade or to engine brake in the snow. Otherwise, I can keep in below 2000 by maintaining 55 to 60 on the highway. Occasionally, I hit 70+ MPH but only when I building speed for the next hill climb.

I keep it in drive all the time, but if you could coast for a a while (maybe over a mile) in nuetral I could see an advantage, but most of the time I am coasting to a stop. If I am getting lots of regen down a hill, I'll go into EV mode for a bit to accelerate a little to avoid the drag of regen and to maintain speed since I am getting a lot of regen anyway.

I ran 40 to 44 PSI for over 8000 miles last spring, summer, and fall. Not sure if I would go 50. By accident I overfilled one day to over 50 and the ride was pretty harsh at that pressure. 40 seems best for me as it is a little more bumpy but I think I squeeze out 1 to 3 MPG. In the winter I do recommended pressure.

As mentioned earlier, getting off the highway is a good time to go into limited EV mode while on the ramp for a short bit. I use that for a bit and then the brakes if there is a stop at the end otherwise I just coast it out on to the secondary road.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The paddle shifter let you force the car in any gear in S mode, but the ratios are lower than D and in D it uses the highest ratio possible. I use the upshift one braking for more stopping power and harder regen.

You can upshift in D, then it reverts to automatic mode again.

Dont be afraid to give it gas in reverse, that gear lacks power.

Fuel cut happens above 8mph with no gas input and heater below 8o degrees in D or S. In nutral it idles unless below 8mph.

In fuel cut it also regens which can cut into your coasting ability. Need to give it light pressure on the gas to stop regen, but not too much it refires the engine.

Its best to ride the brakes, vs use them for max regen.

I am no Hypermiler either, most of my driving is by use of the cruse control buttons and following post speed limits within 5mph+ or -.

Although I enjoy pissing people off behind me by seeing how slow I can accelerate, it seems faster acceleration gives better fuel economy and leaves some battery power for later.

No idea about warm air intake or detonation. I removed the snorkle and fuel economy went down.



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Old 02-02-2010, 01:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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After one-month of ownership, I'm starting to get a feel for what the vehicle "wants" for best FE, but I'm still at odds with one scenario:

I often drive in a hilly terrain, usually with a 55-60 mph limit. I'm really trying to avoid Assist, but speed really drops with engine-only operation or light Assist on steep grades.

I have tried dropping it into "S" and giving it revs up to 2500-3000 RPM (engine only) on steep, extended climbs at 45-50 mph (still scrubbing speed, but not as drastically). The ScanGauge typically reads about 43 MPG on engine-only. The problem is that I need to build speed on the downhill (for the next uphill), so I pop it back into "D" and use engine-only, low RPM to build some steam. A commonly driven road segment has 10 steep grades (both up and down), with the following on the return leg...

The high-RPM climb was tried after the dreaded "Forced Regen". My worst situation is a red light a the bottom of a long uphill climb with a 60 MPH limit. From a standing start, with a high SoC and keeping the revs to 2000, the assist was used-up mid way up the hill with a target of 50 mph, and started charging (which was an unexpected) at 50% SoC. It really cut the power and scrubbed the speed down to 40 or lower, so I just kept the same throttle position and ate the fuel. I decided to try for higher revs the next time around. I honestly thought the battery would last longer before forced Regen (maybe it will as it breaks-in).

Am I on the right track? Since the discrepancy of energy exists with Charge and Assist, the goal has become to avoid assist unless starting-off or at high-speed hill climbing (65+ Interstate stuff). The rule has been to stay under 2000 revs, so is 3000 a good climbing method?

On a positive note, nearly all other driving situations have yielded an average of 50 MPG, except on short trips. Thanks to all for the advanced techniques!

RH77

Last edited by RH77; 02-02-2010 at 01:40 AM. Reason: terminology
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RH77 View Post
After one-month of ownership, I'm starting to get a feel for what the vehicle "wants" for best FE, but I'm still at odds with one scenario:

I often drive in a hilly terrain, usually with a 55-60 mph limit. I'm really trying to avoid Assist, but speed really drops with engine-only operation or light Assist on steep grades.

I have tried dropping it into "S" and giving it revs up to 2500-3000 RPM (engine only) on steep, extended climbs at 45-50 mph (still scrubbing speed, but not as drastically). The ScanGauge typically reads about 43 MPG on engine-only. The problem is that I need to build speed on the downhill (for the next uphill), so I pop it back into "D" and use engine-only, low RPM to build some steam. A commonly driven road segment has 10 steep grades (both up and down), with the following on the return leg...

The high-RPM climb was tried after the dreaded "Forced Regen". My worst situation is a red light a the bottom of a long uphill climb with a 60 MPH limit. From a standing start, with a high SoC and keeping the revs to 2000, the assist was used-up mid way up the hill with a target of 50 mph, and started charging (which was an unexpected) at 50% SoC. It really cut the power and scrubbed the speed down to 40 or lower, so I just kept the same throttle position and ate the fuel. I decided to try for higher revs the next time around. I honestly thought the battery would last longer before forced Regen ....
BINGO ! ! Above you've hit upon what is for me (on the hilly Oregon coast) the big issue and challenge with the I2.

I'm not qualified to speak to the technical issues you've raised in prior posts. I have done alot of experimenting with the hill climbing challenge, so well described above. Here is what I found to work best for me ..so far ..only 7.2 k miles on the car:

I seek to use the battery power to help the small engine deal with standing start acceleration, hill climbing, and emergency acceleration needs. Beyond that I like the SoC at a maximum so there is minimal roll resistance due to charging. (Sometimes I think a solar panel is a difference that makes a difference, but that is a technical question.)

When approaching / beginning a hill climb I switch Econ off. In the off position it appears one can get to a lower SoC before forced regen begins! Econ-on sets the CVT to give lowest possible rpm for a given foot pressure on the gas pedal, in the off position less foot pressure is needed - makes a comfort difference on the really long hills.

When force regen begins I shift into "S" mode and hold till top of hill. While climbing the hill I look at steepness of the hill, traffic, vehicle speed, instantainous mpg, and rpm. In most cases 43 mph at 3200-3400 rpm seems to balance all the issues out best.

With prior cars, I'd run the same hills at 50 mph and 2500 rpm (Saturn SL1 with automatic) with minimal reduction in mpg over a 300 mile trip (39-42 trip mpg).

Obviously a bigger battery or more powerful electric motor would make a big improvement. But a modification to the current I2, that I would consider buying and have someone install, would be a simple switch that stops forced battery regen. Without the drag of battery regen, my guess is that the I2 on engine only could comfortably climb the big hills at almost 50 mph at under 3000 rpm (similar to the SL1 which is about the same size and weight). This could lead to a little more speed for a given mpg while steep hill climbing.
__________________
Principles supporting my driving style for even higher EX mpg:
Have the engine operate as little as possible, especially when standing still or moving slowly; while also meeting my demands for power and maneuvering. This means most battery charging while cruising city streets and rural roads, max regen from slowing down and downgrades, and only using heater or A/C when the engine is on for other purposes.

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Last edited by Moviemike; 02-03-2010 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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For max fuel economy, Id do the minimun allowed speed of 45mph and let the car do what it wants with assist, regen with it in drive and econ on.

If I wanted to do what I wanted to in your shoes, Id use S mode and turn off econ as noted.



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Old 02-04-2010, 01:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When approaching / beginning a hill climb I switch Econ off. In the off position it appears one can get to a lower SoC before forced regen begins! Econ-on sets the CVT to give lowest possible rpm for a given foot pressure on the gas pedal, in the off position less foot pressure is needed - makes a comfort difference on the really long hills.

When force regen begins I shift into "S" mode and hold till top of hill. While climbing the hill I look at steepness of the hill, traffic, vehicle speed, instantainous mpg, and rpm. In most cases 43 mph at 3200-3400 rpm seems to balance all the issues out best.
Perfect! Information like this is gold. The Eco button seems to help in some ways, and hurt in others. There should be an "Advanced" mode -- you can program the door locks, why not the Eco features? It seems that the only feature that cannot be overcome with technique, is the Regen activity. Someone can cycle the A/C themselves, scrub speed during load, and shut a car off at a coasting stop.

I'll have to mess with the Eco button more. What I really don't like is the muted action of the throttle with Eco on. Using Scangauge feedback of the throttle position -- for example, getting a value of 19 increments on the throttle position sensor vs. 20 is harder to consistently hit (and seems to be where Assist kicks-in vs. Engine Only). Eco-Off is more precise.

Agreed, the battery isn't "class-leading" but IMHO, the rest of the car is. Discussions with electrical experts noted that a solar panel would have to be larger than the car, to charge much of anything. Plugging-in may not seem like the best option, since the battery is used-up quickly anyway. But, given the tools at hand, additional practice can craft some solid FE.

I look forward to seeing what it can do (so far, about 600 miles on the clock)...

RH77
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