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A/C draws alot of power, that's why we can feel the engine get weaker when it kicks in.
With the size of the Insight's battery it makes more sense to run the A/C through a clutch attached to the gas engine, it's a lot more efficient this way. The load on the battery pack of an electrical A/C would be like driving with assist all the time, battery would drain in minutes.
We only need assist to accelerate and/or climb hills but the A/C needs to stay on most of the time to be affective.
Since the Prius is designed to be driven on 100% battery mode during stop and go city driving speeds it makes sense that they allowed A/C to function during that time.

For the ultimate in fuel efficiency gasoline powered car, mechanically drawing the power to run the A/C from the gas engine makes more sense because of the losses involved in recharging a battery pack.
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