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Discussion Starter #1
I have only had my 2001 Insight 5-speed for a few months. Recently had the IMA battery pack replaced under warranty. I am thinking about going up to see the snow. How do Insights do climbing? How do they do in the cold? The roads are completely clear,so there is no ice or snow on the roads I will be traveling. By the way I am talking about just a day trip.
 

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I've taken my Insight up to Flagstaff (~7000 ft) a couple of times. No excuses need to be made for the car. It does just fine. Granted, you're not going to keep up with the Ford Extinctions doing 95mph up the steepest climbs, but you'll pass 'em while they're stopped at the gas station. If I recall correctly, there is one particular hill that I usually drop down to 2nd gear for a few seconds, but that's the only eyebrow-raiser.

As a datum, I generally have about 300 pounds of weight in the car (myself, passenger, and bags).

-Dan
 

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The Insight does fine in the cold. In numbingly cold conditions it uses the 12 volt battery to start. A couple of members have discovered ailing 12 volt batteries this way. ;)
 

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I concur with the others that the insight does fine in the mountains, although downshifting is required. It can hold its speed going up but it doesn’t accelerate as well as some others. I have taken mine up skiing in the spring several times (when chains will not be required-we have a Subaru for those times.)

Kip, just wondering; what is numbingly cold? Below 0 Deg F?
 

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That is without a doubt numbingly cold.

It’s not even in my regional climatic vocabulary.
 

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It was -20 degrees Celsius today. Sure enough the Insight started on my 5 year old 12 volt OEM battery, though I must say it sounded sluggish the third time. I was out blowing snow for a couple of hours and I had to pull my thumbs into the main part of my insulated mits to keep them from freezing off. Numbing cold sums it up. My coldest Insight drive was at -35. After about half an hour I was comfortable with a leather jacket and thin sweater. (At that temperature you want to limit your personal comfort to keep the temperature up in the engine. ;))
 

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The worst hill I've had with my Insight, was a drive north up I-15 to I-90 and then west on I-90 through Montana. I had just built up speed to go up Lookout Pass with a full state of charge and was downshifted into 3rd gear to help maintain battery / speed for as long as possible.

Then a big rig decided to pull into the left lane to pass another semi. Simultaneously, there was road construction ahead and the 2 lane road narrowed to 0 lanes, with a single detour lane taking us over to the other side of the freeway.

Due to the big rigs floundering and trying to decide who would go first, they both ended up stopping, along with the rest of us. Finally they took off, and merged into the construction detour and were creeping ever so slowly, gradually increasing speed.

Unfortunately for me, the portion of the approach to Lookout Pass they stopped on, was probably the steepest portion possible, and even in 1st gear, it was difficult to take off, and consuming a substantial amount of charge trying to build up speed, but not quite enough to get off battery.

Then the battery was completely exhausted, and torque was greatly diminished and the big rigs pulled ahead as I slowed to around 10 miles per hour and everyone else behind were honking as I was holding up traffic, but there wasn't anything to be done... there wasn't even a shoulder to pull off and do an idle-recharge.

Eventually we crept out of the construction detour onto the main highway and I quickly got onto the shoulder and was able to gradually build up speed to where the engine could hold its own.

This is the ONLY time I've had a problem with climbing hills.

Other than that, I take this car all over the desert mountain region and haven't had any problems. :)
 

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dan said:
That is without a doubt numbingly cold.
It’s not even in my regional climatic vocabulary.
A few years ago when I was troubleshooting a LAF sensor/London Honda issue and had the OBD tool connected to the car for days, I remember the ECT reading below -40 for a few early morning starts. That was an unusually cold winter, though.
 

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While we are discussing the effect of cold on the car, it should be mentioned that when the battery pack is frozen, assist and regen is severely limited until the pack core temp is over 40F.
This is the primary reason for the 12V start, as a frozen NIMH battery cannot output the high current to start the car with the IMA MG.
The car uses a special sawtooth signal to warm up the pack, until it is over 32F.
Since the pack is cooled/heated by cabin air, one must balance engine warmup, cabin warmup, and battery warmup.
The pack is most comfortable when the passengers are comfortable.
 

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Flagstaff is not a problem

We take ours to Show Low quite often and just couple hills require second gear. (and can make it back and forth on one tank - perfect)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I finally did it! I drove my insight to Payson. All went great, only averaged 57.8mpg :? , but was a lot of climbing :shock: . I left the car up there as I needed to bring my retired parent's Avalanche down here to the shop. I'll be going back up this evening to return their truck and drive my insight home. Its downhill so I can't wait to see the mpg :D
 

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I take my 06 5 speed Insight up the Allegheny Front for a steep climb of about 1000 feet up switch back country roads. I sometimes see my battery indicator go down to 1 or 2 bars and the electric motor decides to take a little vacation. So 3rd or 2nd gear are a necessity.
 
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