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Old 04-10-2013, 01:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Efficiency at highway speeds

Hey Guys!
First I want to say that you guys are awesome, I have been pouring over the site here for over a month and I see that you guys take a lot of time to help with any questions that arise.

I have been looking at things and I realize that there are some most basic modifications that have been being made to the I1. radiator blocks, and hot air intakes both help increase engine operating temperature assisting in lean burn.

My big question is, what is going to be the most effecient way for me to drive relative interstate speeds? I have achieved 70+ Mpg. but this was not time efficient or anywhere close to interstate speeds (unless there was a long down hill slope) and I need to get from point A to point B at close to Interstate time (considering It is normal for me to have speaking arrangements 150-1100 miles away).

I am trying to decide on what Modifications are going to be best suited for me using my car for 95% hwy/ interstate driving.

I am open to any and all ideas.

I have considered everything from turbo's to expanded battery storage.

Oh, and I should say this too, If I can pull it out of a box, fabricate something out of plastic or cardboard, wire it up or bolt it on I'm good, but If I need to make a circuit board... I have no capabilities in that area.

It seems to me that IMA only benefits when you can use it so I am planning on getting MIMA 2 once Mike has that available.
Other than MIMA and heating up the combustion (grille block/ hot air intake) , I think I am going to need to free up more power for efficiency.

What do you guys say?

All advice is and will be appreciated!

Thanks Ya'll!
The Bullett
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by silverbullett View Post
My big question is, what is going to be the most effecient way for me to drive relative interstate speeds? I have achieved 70+ Mpg. but this was not time efficient or anywhere close to interstate speeds (unless there was a long down hill slope) and I need to get from point A to point B at close to Interstate time (considering It is normal for me to have speaking arrangements 150-1100 miles away).
A MT Insight with all of its under engine panels intact, stock wheels, RE-92 tires inflated to at least the 44 psi sidewall max, and correct alignment should be able to average ~70 mpg at 70 mph. Last summer, my Insight averaged just under 70 mpg over 5,000 miles driving around south-east Europe at the lesser of the speed limit or 130 kph under cruise control with 2 passengers and luggage. It has no grill blocks (well, other than the large E.U. license plate and no hot air mod. I used MIMA in PIMA mode adjusted to maximize lean burn both up and down hills which resulted in so much assist and regen that I had to watch the IMA battery pack temperature to keep it from rising too much. But generally, aggressive use of IMA and cruise control don't result in the best fuel efficiency at highway speeds.

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Originally Posted by silverbullett View Post
I am trying to decide on what Modifications are going to be best suited for me using my car for 95% hwy/ interstate driving.
Aerodynamics are most important at highway speeds, but the Insight's aerodynamics are pretty difficult to improve. Just don't do anything that makes the aerodynamics worse.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by aisbell View Post

Aerodynamics are most important at highway speeds, but the Insight's aerodynamics are pretty difficult to improve. Just don't do anything that makes the aerodynamics worse.
Agreed. Probably one of the few things you could do to improve aerodynamics (outside of constructing a boat tail read: extreme measures) is to do a full belly pan-nose to tail, side to side. I think that may be my next "mpg improvement" project. 70 mpg at 70 mph is very doable. I usually get 80-90 mpg when I target 55 mph and let the speed rise and fall with the terrain...if I'm on a 4-lane highway; on 2-lane higways I try to keep a more even speed.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Agreed. Probably one of the few things you could do to improve aerodynamics (outside of constructing a boat tail read: extreme measures) is to do a full belly pan-nose to tail, side to side.
I have done this on the MPGMachine and I think it is very worthwhile. Obviously it isn't the sort of thing one can do a before and after test on, so there is a bit of guessing involved.

Two other things help:
1. Remove right side mirror and put in one of those snap over convex mirrors over the normal rear view, if allowable in your state. You can see right out the right window with one.
2. Block about 90% of the front intakes in fall, winter, spring. You have to monitor the coolant temp carefully until you get a feel for the thing. Construct internal air fairing so all air goes through the radiator.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would think that if most of your driving is highway, mima, Pima, etc won't benefit you much. Most of your gas is used just pushing through the air at 70 mph. Air up your tires to whatever you think is safe. Make sure your engine is mechanically in perfect working order. Egr valve, plugs, etc. make sure the engine and trans haves the proper fluids, preferably synthetic.....and at the correct level, not over or under filled.

Have the front end alignment checked, and make sure the alignment shop knows what they are doing and knows that you want to minimize drag. If I recall correctly the insight has a slightly unusual toe, camber, or something, and some shops may not set it per the manual.

Only use the a/c when needed, it really sucks the gas. I have found that opening both windows about a half inch lets in a lot of air and can go without the a/c many times. Get the windows tinted, the back glass let's in a lot of sunlight and heat. Some people use a removable window tint, put it on in the summer and remove in the fall.
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Last edited by Need4Speed; 04-10-2013 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Attached is a graph of real world speed vs MPG testing that another Gen-1 Insight Owner did on a flat level stretch in Lean Burn and in 5th gear... numbers he actually got ... depending on your conditions and methods , you might be able to get slightly better.

Also attached is an example of the MPG that Peter got from his PHEV converted Gen-1 Insight over a longer distance trip ... so that is another option to also boost MPG at whatever speed ... the A123-20Ah version of the PHEV is just about the same weight as the OEM pack , so it should be able to get near the other speed vs MPG graph even without using the PHEV function.

One other bit of advise ... the Gen-1 Insight will get good MPG no matter how you drive it ... but this is one car that you the driver and how you do what you do makes significant differences ... two people driving the same distance , the same route, at the same average speed ... can get significantly different MPG from each other due to differences in their driving technique & Methods... ie. by changing methods , it is possible to travel the same distance , and get there just as fast, while burning less gallons to do it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg speed-mpg-insight-5th-LB.jpg (48.7 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg UK Li-PHEV Insight.jpg (3.9 KB, 29 views)
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you guys for the great experienced input, advice and ideas!

Aisbell, It sounds like you have some very good driving habits, Something that I am trying to make a habit of! (it's quite different when getting out of a 30,000# 18 wheeler that has a 425 H.P. N-14 Cummins and averages 4 miles a gallon and stepping into a little I1 insight!!! (hmm, maybe I need to work on Hypermilling the Semi? !!! LOL!

DiamondLarry, You mentioned a full underbody pan/skirt. I have considered this, but I am not sure what materials would work well considering the heat generated by the exaust. At first I was thinking just a High Mil plastic sheeting, but then I decided that it might not be a good idea to have melting plastic under my car... What are your thoughts on this?

Jime , I have seriously like the Airferring idea to direct all air though the radiator and then do some Aero-air damming. Question, Does the OBD C&C have a water temperature gauge on it to monitor? Also is there anybody making the OBD C&C in a plug and play package?

Iam Ian, I would love something like the PHEV, but it appears to me that the $6-7,000 price may outweigh the advantages of such a system. However I will address that some more in my response to Need4Speed...

Need4Speed, I feel like I have observed the same thing with the IMA-MIMA systems when using them for long trips (which is precisely what I use the I1 for). Unless having a Phev system or driving in mountainous terrain I feel that the added benefits are negligable compared to the cost. This is especially concerning to me considering that my battery pack currently needs to be revived/rebuilt or replaced.
This goes into my next line of thoughts...

I am considering completely doing away with my IMA, I could try to refurbish it, but if I consider the cost of buying a Grid charger ( I do not feel confident in making one.) harness, and time spent (that's worth a little bit right?...) then eventually having to just buy another battery pack, the cost would be a considerable amount that could go towards other means of fuel effeciency. But I have not made up my mind, and am seeking advice.

From my observation and reading on the IC website here I think I gather that the I1 is very capable of 80 MPG w/o assist on flatland at 50-60 MPH, I do not know how much assist helps in such situations... maybe 10MPG?
Where effeciency is lost is under load ( take off/ hills) and low speed (less than 30?).
It seems to me that aside from Aero mods the only real solutions that I have been seeing on here are from additional power (either Assist or other).
I have seen that obviously Assist is king because that is what this car was created for, but the expense is still pricey no matter what route you take (especially considering I am starting with absolutely nothing besides a I1 with battery trouble. )
The other highly looked into solution that I have seen has been Turbo's. They add basically no restrictions to the engine while creating power from a by-product of the internal combustion engine.

Both Assist and Turbo's are pricey to start up, but with turbo's, engine Hp and torque are increased so that Assist is not necessary. Also boost is always available unlike Assist.
I don't know much about turbo's on gasoline engines but I know that on diesels that will run almost forever (we have had million mile semis with original turbo and I have a 320,xxx mile diesel excursion with original turbo. With Assist, the battery packs would never last that long!

I do not however know if Turbo's can achieve low Rpm. power (1200 and up) on these engines...
I also do not know if the extra pressure on the engine would affect its longevity.
If the boost will work with Lean-burn, or if the amount of power gained would be able to compete with Assist.

As always, all Ideas are greatly appreciated!!!

The Bullett
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Need4Speed,
You also mentioned window tinting.
I wonder if using a white or silver in the summer (like the ClEARVIEW graphics used a lot in rear windows) and a black in the winter would be beneficial?
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just an idea, but what about a windscreen wiper circuit breaker switch, that would allow you to stop the wipers in an upright position, instead of laterally.

Would improve the aerodynamics a bit.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just an idea, but what about a windscreen wiper circuit breaker switch, that would allow you to stop the wipers in an upright position, instead of laterally.

Would improve the aerodynamics a bit.
Would this be the equivilent of a toggle switch wired to cut off the power supply between the column switch and the wiperblades when they are turned on?

I think I like that idea!
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