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I am looking at used Honda Insights. One big concern is: How long do the batteries last? How much do they cost to replace? If I get an Insight that is two years old, will I be looking at a big bill for a new battery soon?

:roll: --Lawrence
 

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Battery

They are guaranteed for 8yrs or 80k miles. A few have exceeded these numbers but not enough to establish a normal lifespan so its any bodies guess as to how long they will last. Have fun, Rick
 

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Back when I got my Insight in mid 2000, Honda originally estimated that replacing the battery pack would cost somewhere around $1,500, but more recently I've seen estimates closer to $1,000. I'd imagine as battery technology advances, and Honda increases the number of cars it is selling with its IMA system (currently only the Insight and Civic Hybrid, but I'd imagine within the next few years the CR-V and the Accord at very least will come in Hybrid versions), the cost of replacing the batteries will decline. I've also seen articles which state Honda's opinion that in most cases, they expect the battery pack to easily extend past 100,000 miles. The pack is not one battery but 16, and while over the life of the pack individual elements of the pack may go bad, the others should continue to function, albeit at a total capacity somewhat lower than it had been. Plus, the car can operate with the IMA battery pack discharged, though at that point there is no electric assist to give additional power and likely the small starter battery used in cold starts would not last very long before needing replacement.
 

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battery

Hambone said:
Back when I got my Insight in mid 2000, Honda originally estimated that replacing the battery pack would cost somewhere around $1,500, but more recently I've seen estimates closer to $1,000.
I hope you are right. While I haven't seen any firm quotes from Honda, the rumors I heard were about 2-3 times as much as your numbers.

I'd imagine as battery technology advances, and Honda increases the number of cars it is selling with its IMA system (currently only the Insight and Civic Hybrid, but I'd imagine within the next few years the CR-V and the Accord at very least will come in Hybrid versions), the cost of replacing the batteries will decline.
I seriously doubt that. Since the Insight will be discontinued, Honda won't spend more development $$ on its battery. The battery packs for the Civic and possible future hybrids are significantly different and definitely not interchangable. So there will be little if any trickle-down to the Insight.

The pack is not one battery but 16, and while over the life of the pack individual elements of the pack may go bad, the others should continue to function, albeit at a total capacity somewhat lower than it had been.
Now you are getting seriously wrong. No offense, but the battery pack is made out of 120 cells, connected in series and mounted in sticks of 6, two of wich form one module (12 cells). If a cell goes bad, yes the rest will still operate for a while, but the shortened cell will increase the packs internal resistance and reduce the voltage, significantly reducing available power. It will also increase the strain put on the other cells, causing them to die soon after. Once one cell dies, the pack is needs to be replaced. There will be an IMA light and error code indicating this when it happens.


That said, back to the original poster:

Lawrence,
while there are some battery management issues (recalibrations), so far we had only one or two reports of battery failures. Many of us have exceeded the 80000 miles with no problem, very much to my surprise. I would think if you buy a car that has over 80000 miles, you should at least be prepared to pay for a battery replacement sometime. To me, even if it's $3k, it's sill worth it! ($3000 over 80000 miles = 3.75 cents per mile, better than the savings on gas). But if you buy a car at 80000 and need to spend the extra $3k after obnly a few miles, the math goes bad.

But you'd have pretty much the same risk in any used car of that mileage. The engine/transmission/clutch/etc. could suddenly die just as much as the battery in an Insight can.


Good Luck!
 

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So I was wrong on the number (20 stacks of cells, not 16, for each "battery" I was referring to was what you are calling a cell stack, I just don't have the terminology), but then again, I'm just passing on the info that was passed to me. And just because the batteries in the Civic are different doesn't mean that Honda, in an effort to keep from having to supply parts for several different cars, couldn't develop some kind of adapter to allow them to discontinue making the original Insight batteries and use the newer, lighter, more effecient batteries of later models using IMA as the replacement for the original batteries when they go bad. In fact, I've read that the newer Insights have different battery packs than the 2000 models for instance, but that if a 2000 model needed a battery replacement they would retrofit the 2000 model to accept the newer batteries. Again, I'm not an engineer, so I'm only going on things I've read in Autoweek, Car & Driver, sources such as that.
 

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Tim Maddux said:
insight battery info:
Can't find a 3rd-party source for the batteries to get a decent price estimate (as opposed to what Honda would charge for a parts replacement).
The cells are made by Panasonic. There is a thread lower in this forum has has the part number and price. If you have the patience, I'm sure you could buy each cell individually and assemble a new pack. :)
 

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On the Panasonic news page they say that the Civic uses the same cylindrical packs as the Insight. Does anyone have any information to confirm this one way or the other? It would be nice if both cars used the same packs because they should then be available for a longer period of time.
 

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The battery replacement cost was very expensive when the Insight first came out, now it is reasonable. When the production line for the Insight is shut down you can bet the price goes back up. But 8 years or 80k miles is far off for me. Those of you that are worried, you better sell your Insight now and get the Civic Hybrid.
 

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Aaron Cake said:
The cells are made by Panasonic. There is a thread lower in this forum has has the part number ...
I knew they were Panasonic, that's what my links were to. I found the part number elsewhere in these forums. HHR-650D.

They cost $166.70 for a pack of 10 and $1481.80 for a carton of 100 from DigiKey, so that's $1800 for 120 of them. Not exactly a "deal" but I didn't shop around any other places.
 

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Battery warranty

Tim thanks for posting the company selling them. I have been very pleased with the performance of my pack so if I need to replace it I will do so. I wonder how Honda will handle battery replacements in regards to a warranty. That is will it bed like a 12 volt battery where you get the same warranty as the new product (8 more years or 80K miles) or will it be like engine work where they may give you a 90 day to 1 year/ 12k miles replacement warranty. If it is the former I would pay Honda for the work but if it is the later I would buy the batteries directly and attempt it myself. So, who gets to replace their pack first. Have fun, Rick
 

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Sems I am one of the unfourtuate few who have experianced a battery failure. MIZR had 59588 on him when I took him into the dealer due to noticable and serious symtoms of battery failure IE: IMA light on constantly, CEL on, excessive cycling of battery SOC and in general not the same amount of "get up n go " to him. The technician retrieved a code 77(battery module deterrioration). I suspect the summers in My area contributed to the early demise of the battery pack more than anything (normal summers temps 115+) and even with tinting windows and parking in shade still higher than that in car.
But i still wouldn't ever think of abandoning MIZR as he is a blast to drive and even after allmost 3 years of owning him I still get the questions and interest in the technoligy that Honda has invested in the Insight. As My comute parnter says "this car is to smart with every thing it takes into consideration to get the mileage it does"
 

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The battery is rated for 140F...I assume that's outside temp, not interior temp, which in Houston can rise much higher than that.

On a side note, with all the reading I've done in the past week, the first time I heard about the Insight being discontinued was in these forums. Suggested links/reading for me to followup on? Should I worry about this, since I'm planning on buying one next week?
 

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Coyote said:
...the first time I heard about the Insight being discontinued was in these forums. Suggested links/reading for me to followup on?
I wouldn't worry about it. First of all, they're just rumors, and I've been hearing the same rumors for years (that there would be no 2002 Insight. or that there would be no 2003 Insight). Now there will be no 2004 Insight. Or maybe no 2005.

Even when it is discontinued, Honda will continue to support the car with parts. There were never that many Insights made anyway, so it's not like there would be a sudden shortage if the production lines were to run down.

I'm pretty sure the temperature rating is for the actual ambient temperature that surrounds the battery. Inside. The Insight will cool the battery pack via ventilation of cabin air, so it's a good idea to use the A/C (you're not likely to drive around inside it with 140F cabin air anyway) in the heat.
 

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I wouldn't necessarily say that. I'm hoping this was just a temporary supply problem, but I ordered brakes for an Insight all around and I got a call back the next day saying that there was a 6 week national backorder! In the mean time I searched around and found a source of aftermarket pads, but by that time I already had the car sold. When they finally did come in a couple of weeks later I took em because I wanted a set on hand if thats what getting brakes is gonna be like. I sure hope it isn't like this in the future, but that fact scares the heck out of me.

As far as battery temperature, inside the drivers door seam there is the sticker saying not to heat the car to over 149 degrees F. The thing is that cars here in Arizona bake all summer long. The inside of a car can easily get to 170.. 180 degrees! I just got my Insight at the end of last summer, but I'm scared to death of the battery damage I already did. With only a months worth of summer driving I think I had at least 5 recalls. It's a viscious cycle. The car is hot, you turn on the air to cool it and the batteries down, you start driving, there is more demand on the IMA, more current comes out of the batteries which causes them to get even hotter. Heat causes recalls, when the air is on and your in a force charge recall it's worse than driving a geo metro.

A few days ago I ordered a custom fitted windshielf heat repelling cover and a custom fitted car cover from Covercraft. If the car is just parked for a little while I'll probably just use the windshield cover, but while I'm inside at school the car is getting covered. I might even make a cover for the back window. Call me nuts, but I don't want to prematurely shorten my battery life. Nickel Metal Hydrides do not like heat.
 

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Ok, next question...define recall? I'm assuming from the text that it means the battery simply won't work until it cools down, and you're stuck on the small engine to run air conditioning and the car until they cool down enough to kick in?
If so, what's the proceedure? I'm still very interested in getting this car (I used to have a CRX HF, miss it terribly), but I want to know what I'm getting into, since I live in Houston...not quite as hot as Arizona, with average summer temp of 95F (although it can sometimes get up to 116F or so), but with being closer to the equator, the sun tends to cook staionary objects abit more.

(Granted, I have covered parking both where I live & where I work, but if I go to the movies some afternoon...etc....)
 

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Battery life & recals

Coyote wrote:

> Ok, next question...define recall? I'm assuming from the text that it means the
> battery simply won't work until it cools down, and you're stuck on the small engine
> to run air conditioning and the car until they cool down enough to kick in?

> If so, what's the procedure? I'm still very interested in getting this car
> (I used to have a CRX HF, miss it terribly), but I want to know what I'm getting
> into, since I live in Houston...not quite as hot as Arizona, with average summer
> temp of 95F (although it can sometimes get up to 116F or so), but with being
> closer to the equator, the sun tends to cook staionary objects abit more.


> (Granted, I have covered parking both where I live & where I work, but if I go
> to the movies some afternoon...etc....)


A recal, short for recalibrate occurs when the battery gauge becomes out of sync with the available charge in the IMA pack. Measuring the capacity of a battery pack is not like a liquid in a tank. You must calculate that amount of charge removed and added. There is an error factor in such a system. The packs capacity will deteriorate with time an vary somewhat by temperature. At a certain point the voltage at rest and or under a known load is clearly out of spec for the calculated level of charge as shown on the dash. The pack must then be force fed until its voltage as stated previously falls into the known "full" range.

Then IMA pack's temperature must also be monitored because excess charging or discharging when its out of an optimal range causes rapid deterioration of the cells. Ni-MH packs frequently stored at higher temps deteriorate somewhat faster even at rest. The Insight's BCM (Battery Control Module) takes all these factors, and possible a few more into consideration when charging or discharging the pack.

As an old CRX HF owner myself I can whole heartedly recommend the Insight. The Battery pack will eventually be a cost, but with currently increasing oil prices the break-even point is shrinking.

The only major points of difference between the Insight and the HF is a harsher ride quality due to low rolling resistance tires and its lighter weight. And if you want the maximum obtainable MPG's as evidenced in these forums, a major change (for most people) in driving style.


John K. Bullock
Knoxville, TN

aka. Insightful Trekker
 

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How long does it take to recalibrate, roughly? Is it something that has to be done when the car is being driven, because of the regenartive breaking, or can you put the car in neutral and let the engine run (or give it gas) to recalibrate? (If so, anyone know how long THAT takes? Houston's got the worst of both worlds in the summer...hot AND humid.)

(Can you tell I troubleshoot systems for a living? I'm nitpicking the question to death)

"The only major points of difference between the Insight and the HF is a harsher ride quality due to low rolling resistance tires and its lighter weight. And if you want the maximum obtainable MPG's as evidenced in these forums, a major change (for most people) in driving style. "

*chuckle* I'm definately an agressive driver (not a jerk driver, just no patience for people doing 40 in a 65...in the middle lane. This happens often down here.)
But from elsewhere (on the IC main site, I think), I read that the real toning down comes from CRX Si drivers to the Insight, not the HF users, since we didn't have the umph the Si did. But then, at present, I'm driving a 12 yr old Ford Aerostar, so going 35 in an Insight will feel like I'm doing 90....

So, a good comparison in ride quality would be to combine an HF (which was pretty smooth) with a gocart? :)
 

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Coyote,

I wouldn't run the engine to charge the battery, simply because it's wasteful. The Insight will build battery state of charge back up just fine on its own, whether it's from a "recal" or from a normal drain of the battery (on a hill, for example), by charging off the engine in normal driving and/or from regen braking.

I've never timed the charge-up rate in my Insight, and after I learned how to regen-brake effectively from tips on the main InsightCentral site I stopped worrying at all about monitoring my battery SOC. I just drive and the Insight takes care of the battery, recals and all.
 

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80% humidity at 95-110F (outside, let alone in the car) can make for a pretty good reason to not be in the car while it cools down enough to recal.
This wouldn't be SOP, I'm merely wondering if it's feasable, or if you're stuck until nightfall. Again, this is a nitpick question. Do I want to waste gas? No, obviously...else I'd be looking at a Ford Expedition. But wasting a smidgeon vrs heat stroke sitting at a light...well, that causes me to raise the question.
(Remember, I don't have one yet, so I don't know if you can successfully run the gas sans batteries, cool down the car, recal, and safely traverse traffic)
 
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