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Discussion Starter #1
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. :cool:

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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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.

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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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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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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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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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! :cool:

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. :confused:

As always, all Ideas are greatly appreciated!!! :)

The Bullett
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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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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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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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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.
In most cars the air at the windscreen base is almost stagnant (moving at the same speed and direction as the car) so there would be little to gain.
Do a tuft test or such before you meddle with the wipers... I was to make a wiper cover for the I2 but it apparently has little effect.
 

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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! :)
Yep. I was thinking the easiest way would be to break the circuit at the fuse with a latching switch capable of carrying enough load to power the wipers.
 

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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...
Agreed there is a break even point ... and depending on your conditions and desires , it's up to the individual ... it's your car do or don't do whatever you want.

However ... if you think that you need to spend $6,000 for a PHEV system ... I think you've overlooked a lot of options that can come in well bellow that ... I've seen people put together a basic PHEV system for under $500 ... or you could spend over $50,000 ... it will of course vastly depend on the details of the PHEV you want:
  • How much DIY vs Turn-Key you want , and are willing to do.
  • How much stored Wh of usable energy you want.
  • How much you want it to weigh compared to the OEM NiMH pack ( ie , less , same , more )
One of the beauties of converting a HEV like the Gen-1 Insight into a basic PHEV , is that you already have lots of the pieces ... and integration work done for you ... ie. you're more than 1/2 way there already.

There will still be break even points and such ... and if you don't want to do it ... for whatever your reasons are ... that's fine too ... but there are more shades of gray than just $6k for PHEV.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
IamIan,

Ok, You're definately right then, I overlooked something! I need to look a lot deeper into that!
I like the Idea of Assist, I just didn't like the idea of it costing so much that it counterbalances the fuel effeciency.

With the PHEV system I know the guys here on Ic have come a long ways towards making this stuff simple to do. Is there any particular thread that is beneficial on understanding the entire concept? I read some, but wading through all the threads can be quite time consuming!!!!

Thanks!

silverbullett
 

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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?


The Bullett
I think someone talked about using a thin sheet (.063, maybe thinner) of aluminum. That should more than handle the heat and wouldn't be much of a weight penalty either; aero gains should overcome the extra weight.
 

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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.
My son works for a local shop and I've been told by his boss that he is one of the best he's seen when it comes to alignments. When my son puts a car up on the alignment machine, he likes to look at the settings before he looks at the customer comments on the paperwork and has gotten pretty good at being able figure out how the car drives from the numbers. He pretty much uses the factory settings for alignments. I'll ask him if he remembers what the unique factors are with the Insight and if he sees any ways to improve mpg over factory specs.
 

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IamIan,

Ok, You're definately right then, I overlooked something! I need to look a lot deeper into that!
I like the Idea of Assist, I just didn't like the idea of it costing so much that it counterbalances the fuel effeciency.

With the PHEV system I know the guys here on Ic have come a long ways towards making this stuff simple to do. Is there any particular thread that is beneficial on understanding the entire concept? I read some, but wading through all the threads can be quite time consuming!!!!

Thanks!

silverbullett
Sorry , but I don't know of one single thread that concisely explains the entire concept of every variation of the PHEV mods ... you're welcome to start one.

And by all means no one is saying you have to do it ... don't do it if you don't want to ... and the other mods , like Aerodynamic improvements will offer benefits either way ... so by all means start with whatever project you want , take it as far as you want ... just keep it fun.

- - - - - -

Very basic overview.

Like many things how complicated it is and how expensive it is , depend on what you want from it.

PHEV = Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
At it's most basic is just like a HEV that boosts MPG with the hybrid side by trying to be a more net efficient vehicle ... but it reduces negatives and boosts the positives of the HEV platform ... if you get ___wh of energy from the electric plug , that is ___wh of energy that didn't have to come from gasoline ... thus a boost to the MPG by using that much less gasoline chemical energy to move from point A to point B.

Of course the electricity isn't free ... but it is cleaner and cheaper per joule of energy used to move than gasoline is ... and electricity is getting steadily more clean over time , where gasoline is getting dirtier ... and electricity is generally rising in price far slower than gasoline is , in some places and time periods electricity rises slower than inflation causes everything else to rise.

Sense a HEV already has many of the pieces already needed for a PHEV ... electric drive motor , electric motor controller , interface from electric motor to share the load at the wheels , controls to the driver , etc ... more than half the work is already done to convert a HEV to a PHEV ... thus making it cheaper and easier to go from HEV -> to PHEV , than it would be to go from non-HEV -> to a PHEV.

Keeping in mind the crude basic relationship, just from a $ cost point of view:
Each $1 for grid electricity currently replaces about ~$3.26 worth of gasoline

Which comes from:
Most places are E10 which has about ~35kwh chemical energy per gallon
If you average ~30% ICE efficiency to the wheels you get ~10.5kwh of useable energy per gallon... The IMA system is about ~90% efficient from battery to wheel... so every ~11.7 kwh of usable energy from a PHEV replaces 1 gallon you didn't have to buy to move the same distance , same conditions , same speed, etc... of course it will vary from time to time and location to location ... but crude basic ... U.S. National average price per kwh of electricity in 2012 was $0.0961 ... so that ~11.7kwh would cost on average about ~$1.13 to replace 1 gallon of gasoline ... which on average in the U.S. in 2012 cost ~$3.69 per gallon.

Crude Basic Order of complexity and cost:
  • Simplest , cheapest PHEV might be considered a alternator deleted ... by plugging in to charge a larger capacity 12V car battery and not using vehicle alternator functions , one replaces some gasoline used for that alternator function with grid electric... potential to replace about ~15kwh per year... same yearly miles for about ~1 less gallon.
  • If you plan to go , gut it out and go 100% gasoline anyway ... might as well get the most out of the HEV battery before removing it ... use a dumb trickle charger to top off every night ... potential to replace about ~57.6kwh per year ... same yearly miles for about ~5 less gallons.
  • Build your own MIMA-L combined with dumb trickle grid charger ... if plan to go 100% gasoline anyway , might as well get the most out of the IMA battery before removing it ... potential to replace about ~115kwh per year ... same yearly miles for about ~10 less gallons.
  • Build your own MIMA-L + add second parallel NiMH HEV battery Pack + dumb trickle grid charger ... potential to replace about ~230kwh per year ... same yearly miles for about ~20 less gallons.
  • Build your own MIMA-L + replace OEM HEV battery with higher capacity one of the same weight ... Peter's A123-20Ah replacement about fits this ... and has the potential to replace as much as about ~640 kwh per year ... same yearly miles with up to about ~50 less gallons... unless one runs into the limits of the 10kw power limits on fuel savings first.
  • Build your own MIMA-L + add second booster battery + dumb trickle grid charger ... yearly potential limited to the size of the second booster battery ... MikeD had about ~300 Lbs of a second booster battery for a while tucked in the spare tire wheel well... maximum yearly potential limited by the replacement battery initially ... at a certain point of more battery the 10kw power limit of the OEM IMA HEV motor becomes the limiting factor... as you up size that 10kw IMA HEV motor you become more EV and less ICE ... eventually at the far end becoming a complete 100% BEV conversion.
  • Build your own MIMA-L +replace OEM HEV battery with a higher capacity one of more weight ... maximum yearly potential limited by the replacement battery initially ... at a certain point of more battery the 10kw power limit of the OEM IMA HEV motor becomes the limiting factor... as you up size that 10kw IMA HEV motor you become more EV and less ICE ... eventually at the far end becoming a complete 100% BEV conversion.
 

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Another idea.

Could you manipulate the EGR valve to reduce intake volume, and throttle efficiencies.

Ie, at full throttle, only getting 30% power. Something like a manual variable adjuster?
 

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In most cars the air at the windscreen base is almost stagnant (moving at the same speed and direction as the car) so there would be little to gain.
Do a tuft test or such before you meddle with the wipers... I was to make a wiper cover for the I2 but it apparently has little effect.
On a lot of cars, I'd agree. But my wipers do stick up quite a bit from the lowest point that they could go down too. I can even see them being moved around at highway speeds.
 
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