Honda Insight Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I just discovered the Insight this morning (via your phenomenal site) and thanks to IC.net have been utterly unproductive at work all day! I am bewitched and have spent most of the day trolling your forums answering almost all of my (very many) questions.

The only remaining nagger that I haven't seemed to have found addressed anywhere (and I think like I have performed a pretty comprehensive search+scan...) is about a batteryless Insight.

I'm a 25-year-old IT professional so I'm not exactly rolling in it yet. The Insight appeals to every instinct I have; it's simple and purposeful, minimalist, and most importantly it's high-tech edge on the world.

That said, an Insight living in a dealership does very little good to me. They're 30K with tax in Canada, which coincidentally is roughly my net annual salary. (The only thing worse than our 14% sales tax is our up to 49% income tax... but that's another story...)

Anyway until now I've looked at SMART cars (available here in Canada but too minimalist to be an only car,) Echo Hatchbacks (not "techy" enough for me, plus being in IT encourages celibacy enough as it is,) and TDI VW's (apparently the door handles fall off if you look at them sideways, then the VeeDub warranty department calls it wear-and-tear and you pay $1500...)

The Insight, on the other hand, fits the bill almost perfectly. And while all of it's amazing attributes that are so well documented here, there are two exceptions to its' amazingness that I can see: price and "true" Honda-style longevity.

To get around price I can buy used; great. But replacing the battery for a couple of grand every 80-120k miles leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I take ritual care of machines, I drive very slowly in anything with 4 wheels, and enduring the initial price of a Honda will only make sense to me if I get 300 000+ mostly worry-free miles out of it. Having to think about wearing out a battery every time I touch the gas or regen would drive the obsessive-compulsive in me bonkers.

Plus I live in a climate and topography that will wreak havoc on a battery -- I've had to thaw out radiators filled with -40 antifreeze more than once. I also spend my fun time in the mountains, which means climbing from sea-level to 4000 feet in 2 hours, then going from pass-to-valley-to-pass until any battery that's trying to push actually returns to the individual elemental states from whence its' ancestors were wrought.

So the perfect car for me is an Insight, minus IMA. Gutless suits me fine, 50MPG suits me fine, and knowing I won't have to think about it for a decade would be the only incentive that would ever push me into parting with up to 20 large.

Can it be done? I think that the first model-year Insights must be toasting their packs and either pissing off their owners or getting traded in for peanuts right about now. Can I pick up a used, higher-mileage Insight where the pack is on the fritz, strip all the weighty IMA detritus, and have a 1600lb, never-quit, 1L motor, aluminum, set-it-and-forget-it Honda?

Or are all the Insightisti tracing my IP to my house and gathering up the pitchforks? :)

Thanks for any advice or direction to previous posts.

Brian[/i]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I did indeed read that post... it seemed to me that simply disconnecting 144 Volt pack would allow the car's electro-brain to continue to charge the 12V, yielding a perfectly-operational non-IMA car.

Refuters? Anyone dared try it?

Is this not the state that the car is in when the pack goes dead, with the exception that sensing a pack in there it will do a bunch of recals?

thanks,
Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Awesome! I can't wait for the results...

If I can run an Insight in all-mechanical mode, I'll drive it down and buy you a beer! (And the beer will cost more than the gas...)

BTW the other idea I had was to run two packs in parallel -- effectively doubling the life I would think. (I "would" also be a guy who doesn't know anything about electricity.)

Would two packs in parallel not make a 144V battery with twice the reserves and half the rate of discharge?

Or am I making that up?

thanks,
Brian

PS Aah; I get it! I order the MIMA board, and then I'll be able to manage my battery's life manually. I'll only use it when I'm merging, and the rest of the time I'll just cruise to 300 000 in mechanical bliss...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,032 Posts
Fit

I suspect that the Honda Fit engine and drivetrain will fit in the Insight. No facts to go on, but it seems reasonable... Strip out the IMA stuff and put in a 1200 cc engine and you'll have a real hot rod...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
Brian, I gather you are living in western Canada. Yup, extended periods sitting in the heat will shorten the life of any battery. Yup, draining the battery flat on a daily basis will shorten the life of the battery too. However, you may have a tough time finding an Insught in Canada with a fried battery.

There are posts about mountain climbing in the Insight too. Just stay in second or third gear and keep the revs up. Third, fourth, and fifth are all overdrives if I remember correctly. Someone on this site recently bought an Insight with a fried pack and was driving it around for a while before they figured it out. The car was starting on the 12 volt starter. Honda replaced the pack under warranty. Some have 250,000 miles on the original pack. Sorry I don't have links for these topics. Probably you can use the search feature.

If you want the engine to last forever you can use 0W30 synthetic like me, and still get great mileage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
250 000 miles on the original components? Wow. That's the kind of Honda I'm used to. I live in Vancouver which has an ideal climate, but I commute to my hometown of Calgary which involves tens of thousands of feet of climbing and descending, in anything from +40 to -40... as does skiing etc to a lesser extent.

It sounds like the Canadian Insights fare alright, though, being out of the heat? Just let'r rev and keep the A/C on for the battery's sake I guess? (I note that Honda Canada doesn't give you a no-AC option...)

I guess that the mileage-related posts I read were the squeaky wheels; not those with lots of trouble-free miles. Talk about a biased sample population.

Hopefully I'll be posting next as an owner rather than as a dreamer.

Thanks for the insight!

...woah okay time for bed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,819 Posts
I wouldn't worry too much about the battery being affected by cold. Heat seems to be a much bigger issue. And as you've probably read in old threads, I don't have much problem with regular climbs from 4500 to 8900 ft. I would like a little more power, but I've said that of every car (and motorcycle) I've owned.

As for battery replacement when it gets beyond the 80K Honda warranty, you might look in some of the MIMA threads about the possibility of building either higher capacity packs, or cheap replacement ones, out of salvaged Prius cells. Soon as Mike gets MIMA finished...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,291 Posts
You can't really just remove the IMA battery. It's a totally integrated part of the electrical system. Doing so would freak out the BCM, MCM, DC-DC and PCM/ECM. Remember that the 144V system is the source of all 12V power in the car.

MIMA is the best choice if you want to minimize battery use, but honestly, an Insight without assist is dangerously slow. Found this out VERY quickly when my LAF sensor failed, thus cutting all assist. Talk about gutless. A Metro on 1 cylinder is faster...

That said, I currently have 118K on the odometer with no indications that the battery is suffering at all.

Where in Canada are you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I live in Vancouver, BC, which is about an hour north of Seattle. It's a perfect climate for a battery; it's rarely hot and almost never freezes. But I play all over and I have family all over, and I couldn't help but imagine that poor little Duracell smoking away as I churn up the Coquihalla in the summertime. I wouldn't like to buy a car where taking a trip feels like heavy wear on the machine; highway miles are supposed to be better than city!

It sounds like the Insight is a mountain climber much as with any other machine, short of a diesel maybe. And comparing Honda's high-tech showcase to an oil-burner sounds like comparing apples to... well.. diesels.

Anyway hardware hacker I am, and if a Prius battery can be substituted, I know I'll be able to follow the directions in this forum to get it done. Insight owners are lucky to have a resource like you guys.

In Canada our warranties are shorter; all Hondas here carry the equivalent of 5/61000. I guess because of the climate...

Thanks all for the advice and guidance!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
It is only a matter of time before someone figures a claen way to substitute one half of a Prius pack for the Insight pack. Why bother? Well, there will always be a much greater number of used packs from the Prius as there are so many more of them out there. However, eventually there will be other options including rebuilt, aftermarket, and Lithium conversions.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
It is only a matter of time before someone figures a claen way to substitute one half of a Prius pack for the Insight pack. Why bother? Well, there will always be a much greater number of used packs from the Prius as there are so many more of them out there. However, eventually there will be other options including rebuilt, aftermarket, and Lithium conversions.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
Well,

To all who are waiting anxiously for the test results, sorry but the real world got in the way and there will be a delay.

The good news is that my 12v battery failed its last 30 min headlight on test so I had ordered a Hawker replacement -- and it arrived today :!: :D So there is some added motivation for me to be under the hood very soon and also do the "test".

Hopefully tommrrow evening... :?:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,894 Posts
Simple

I think the Simple answer is MIMA.

Leave everything else in the Insight alone... when the car is really cold and wants to pull a regen number on you to warm up the battery you can either let it , or use mima to turn off the regen.

With MIMA in you can drive around all the time with no IMA but you still have regenerative braking availible should you want it.... and if the state of charge on the battery is good you also will have assist.

Plus... I am already getting very near my 80k mile point and have had no problems with my battery yet.

Another thing to concider is that the 80k mile warrenty from honda is baised on the battery pack still haveing 80% or better of it original storage capacity and it is also probably baised on the statistic that most owners won't use the warrenty as all warrenties are baised on the the statistics that the majority will never be used.

Also NiMH batteries do not just die one day unless something very very wrong happens thier storage capacity and conversion effeciency of chemical to electrical power continue to drop over time.... and should still be workable long after they would have been deemed replacable by honda.

one last thing to concider.... 80k miles at least on the battery pack.... here in the US Gasoline is over $2 per gallon and probably going to continue to go up.... the insight gets close to double the MPG of most cars.... but let us asume you are only improveing your fuel consumption by 30% becuase of bad driving and bad weather etc...etc... which means that you will use in 80k miles less gas then someone useing another car driving for 60k miles .... the equivalent of 20k + Miles of extra driving from the same amount of gas .... even at the crapy for insight 50 MPG rate this is a savings of 400 Gallons worth of gas.... at $2 per gallon that is easily $800 ..... and even with all the conservative figures it is starting to get really close to the price of a new battery..... I figure realistic is closer to double fuel economy and at least 60 MPG life Time which means 40k miles extra for same amount of gas and 666 Gallons worth and I figure gas prices will go up not go down or stay the same so lets figure at least $2.50 per gallon and now we are up to I think a realistic $1,600 worth of gas savings alone by 80k miles.....

My 2 bits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
MIMA sounds like the ticket; I think this will be one of the most hackable/hacked cars of all time by the time ICers are done with it! I can't wait.

As for the fuel savings buying me a new battery, yes indeed they would. But in Canada we can buy the Echo Hatchback for half the price and still get 50 MPG in it. *And* seat 4 six-footers. But that's apples to Toyotas.

IMHO, cost-of-ownership savings aren't the primary draw...any more than people buy fast cars to reduce the amount of time they have to spend in the drivers' seat!

It's kind of weird to have a "technology flagship" that hasn't had major changes in half a decade, no? I guess the good thing about keeping it the same for a long time is that any upgraded components on later models will be "back-hackable" onto earlier machines... i.e. more advanced packs/charging circuits, etc.

Thanks for the wisdom!

Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
To really go all the way, you would have to add an alternator. If you don't have/want A/C it could be mounted where the A/C compressor goes.

I'm would also be worried about the long-term durability of the 12V starter.

I'd put in a civic-sized 51 series 12V battery.

One of the nice things about this is that you could remove the entire battery box and Vastly increase the amount of usable space under the hatch.

Oh, and don't forget to remove the "hybrid" sticker from the back.

BTW. I don't buy into this "batteries only last 100K miles" mindset. I think that panasonic has/had QC issues. That's the real reason honda is now second sourcing batteries from sharp.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
Brian, some Insighters are over 6.5 feet tall and weigh roughly 100 pounds more than myself. The Echo is the best car Toyota makes from a price and efficiency piint of view. You may or may not like the way it handles or the interior ameneties. The Insight is a very different animal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Hey you won't find me on echocentral.net... heck you probably won't find an echocentral.net. I find it's very telling when a group such as this arises spontaneously around a consumer product.

I put some highway miles on an echo and I was finished with that idea! Every time I restarted it I was looking for the pull-cord; the thing was like air-cooled or something. Never mind the looks! :)

Hey each to his or her own I guess
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top