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Cross-posted from our news page:

Honda V6 Accord Hybrid to Be Introduced this Year
January 5, 2004 - Those who have been dreaming of an Accord with V6 performance and the fuel economy of a Civic will soon be rewarded. Honda announced earlier today that it would be launching its V6 Accord Hybrid this autumn. The new model will use Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system and will achieve fuel economy equivalent to a four-cylinder Civic while providing V6 performance, thanks to its Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology. The V6 Accord Hybrid is clearly intended to compete with Toyota's mid-size Prius and it is poised to do so well, with projected fuel economy equal to the compact Civic in a mid-size package, and performance surpassing that of its Accord V6 Sedan sibling, already powerful at 240-horsepower.
The good news isn't over. Along with the announcement of the 2005 Accord Hybrid, Honda promises to make use of its brand-new VCM technology in another model, to be introduced later this year. Honda stated that "VCM allows for the deactivation of three of the engine's six cylinders under certain conditions, such as highway cruising, to deliver even greater fuel efficiency with no sacrifice in performance" and left ample room for speculation as to what new VCM-enabled model would be released next.

Please feel free to discuss the story here.
 

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I look forward to seeing actual EPA numbers on the fuel economy for this car. I like that Honda is making fuel economy and low pollution sexy for people who otherwise wouldn't consider it.

It's not a car I'm likely to buy. In 1971, I bought a 1967 4-door sedan. Every car I've bought since then has been a new hatchback. Someday, I might consider a station wagon (a large hatchback) in order to carry my wife's electronic keyboard around more easily. Meanwhile, if I can't open the trunk and load something all the way to the back of the front seat, I don't want the car. I like the versatility of the space in a hatchback.

Perhaps by the time Honda makes a hatchback hybrid, my 1992 Civic will be ready for retirement.
 

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Will M said:
I like that Honda is making fuel economy and low pollution sexy for people who otherwise wouldn't consider it.
I couldn't agree more. This is clearly an attempt to give performance-seekers the power they want, while lowering pollution as a sort of side benefit. While it is also intended to (and will) attract people whose main concern is not environmental-friendliness but who would consider a Prius, it doesn't look like its mpg figures will rival those of the Prius. Still, it occupies an important market segment.
 

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This is a very good thing. The Insight is great but is kinda like Linux is for the PC. Purists might scoff that the Insight gets better mileage or what not but if Hybrids are only .4% of the market they are doing little overall good. Making them a more mainstream product will broaden their acceptance (like windows did for the PC) and that is a good thing for everyone.
 
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Hi Benjamin and all:

___I posted this into the Yahoo Honda-Hybrid forums earlier. I am a bit concerned as to how Honda will market the Accord Hybrid against the Prius onslaught … I posted the Pro’s and Con’s as I see them anyway.
Hi Linda and Jim:

___Of course the Accord Hybrid news is spread all over the net now but there are some practical issues that Honda either will have to or has addressed in making the Accord Hybrid a success … I cannot wait to hear the details but here is some speculation.

___First off, Toyota cheated a bit to make the Prius a mid-size category automobile because of the hatch design. In a sedan form, it would drop under the 110 cu. ft. limit and thus loose its mid-size category rating … With that, Toyota can claim the 04 Prius is a direct competitor to the Accord Hybrid although in reality, it is smaller then the Accord.

04 Accord: 102.7 cu. ft. passenger/14 cu. ft. cargo
04 Prius: 96.2 cu. ft. passenger/16.1 cu. ft. cargo

___Another item is that Toyota has in a round about way cheated the EPA mileage ratings/estimates. It has been rumored that the Prius starts the EPA test(s) with a fully charged pack and due to its HSD design, is running in EV mode for much of the city testing. It then supposedly finishes without a fully charged pack afterwards? I wish I had conformation of this. Toyota execs mention publicly when asked that the Prius will more then likely not meet EPA estimates because of the way the Prius runs the EPA hwy/city cycle and the real world results are showing this to be the case but you don’t see any disclaimer in Toyota’s brochures, ads, or online spec’s in regards to this issue. You simply see the std. EPA estimates - Actual mileage may vary slogan … In any case, since the IMA design will not allow EV mode except for an emergency condition with the vehicles ICE stalled/out of gas and the car has to be moving, it will more then likely not come anywhere near the Prius’ EPA mileage estimates either. Consider the Prius just barely underperforms the 50% lighter and much smaller CVT based Insight which should tell you something.

___Lastly, what about price? I can see a 265 - 290 HP Accord EX doing all kinds of nice things on the test track in terms of acceleration but are they going to charge $27,500 + for it? The EX V6 w/ leather already costs $23,500? That will move people away in a hurry imho given the LX can be had in a PZEV format for maybe 50% less no matter how good the EPA mileage ratings of the new Hybrid are. The LX is already no slouch in terms of EPA estimated hwy mileage at 34 mpg so I can imagine a 36 to 40 EPA estimate for the much more powerful new Accord Hybrid if it matches the Civic’s of today? That kind of small difference will not wow the fuel misers or green zealots amongst us imho given the probable high initial cost differential between the 2 vehicles. If Honda has cylinder cut-off perfected, they should or hopefully will consider it in all Honda’s and receive the apparent 20% boost in fuel economy without the expense of the Hybrid’s electric drive train …

___Enough of my speculation. We will all have to wait for more details of course but I can just imagine more then a few Honda exec’s running these marketing/pricing questions/issues through their own minds and wondering what to do for a successful launch aginst the Prius onslaught.
___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:9uck8hlj][email protected][/email:9uck8hlj]
 

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It looks like the focus of Honda's hybrid engineering is shifting from the Insight's "anything for gas mileage" to a higher-end "give them as much engine as they need when they need it and then give them less engine when they need less" focus. I'm guessing that they are looking to put the hybrid technology in a class of vehicle where people are more willing to pay for it.

As the technology matures and more of Honda's infrastructure has adapted to it, likely, their full line will be hybrid engines that cut back on cyllinders when they aren't needed and close off valves when they are not needed.

Just a guess. And when the fuel crunch hits, they'll be well placed to sell more vehicles than anybody else while we suck down the last oil on Earth, since Honda drivers will be able to afford more miles powered by gas than anybody else.
 

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"...as much engine as they need..."

Why is Honda making a hybrid with even more power than the "regular" V6? Why not just add the IMA to the I4 that is apparently all the LX needs at present?

It seems that the hybrid concept is veering a little off-course, more toward performance enhancement rather than fuel economy.

Same for the SUV hybrids that Toyota/Lexus is bringing out. Performance, excess weight, status, with a little "green" to satisfy the little gnawing from your conscience...
 

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The V6 hybrid Accord will dispell any wimpy delusions that the public has about hybrid engines. Honda explicitly intends to make hybrids available on their entire line. They are merely taking the fastest route to getting a hybrid into every garage. When the IMAS technology hits the road it will appeal to yet another market segment. Looks like the Insight will be the reigning mileage king for a while. Patience, it isn't easy being green.

Honda and Toyota are locked in a tech supremacy race and the battle for third is way back on the course somewhere. Both companies really need to get the volume up to make this approach economically viable so in my mind a hybrid by any name is just as sweet. :D
 
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Hi B1shmu63:

___I agree with you on many points but the one item I am concerned with is the amount of trouble the Honda IMA system is proving to be for many 00 and 01 Insighter’s in the many mountainous and hilly regions of CA. and the heat of the desert Southwest. You just don’t see the problem posts in the Prius forums when the 01-03’s are being discussed :( The 03 HCH is really too new to show any real problems but hopefully Honda has got it right finally?

___Along a similar note, I don’t know if the IMA is even in the same league in comparison to Toyota’s HSD. The ability to drive in all EV mode for miles over a given distance is what makes that automobile a true economy champ for its size and weight. I don’t think Honda ever envisioned IMA to provide that functionality no matter how large the Pack and M/G set. I do wish however that the Insight’s pack was the size of the 01-03 or even the 04 Prius’. I think much of the reported trouble(s) with the Insight would have disappeared and the system may have been large enough with a few small changes to the M/G set to perform some really amazing feats. All EV mode would be just the start … I find the acceleration of the Insight at low to intermediate hwy cruise to be lacking vs. the new Prius (that is 30 to 60 mph) and can only imagine what the Insight would perform like with a 15 - 20 HP IMA instead of a 6 HP one that we are currently provided … They may have been able to add the balance shafts (or not), drop the ICE’s size to just .8 L and let the IMA work as a real primary/secondary mover instead of acting as an assist and engine balancer as well. I am just speculating as to why so many are having IMA problems in the Yahoo groups … I am not really complaining because the Insight does exactly what it is supposed to for my monster commute but you really do have to drive the car to achieve maximum economy vs. the Prius where it drives you as any other without a second thought … That and the fact that I worry about the SOC so I try to keep my foot out of it so the IMA will last 150 to 200,000 miles.

___I hope Honda has done a little bit of redesign in regards to the Accord’s IMA to move it along side or even surpass what the Prius has to offer in either case. 0-60 isn’t really what I was looking for myself as I look at economy as a priority but I know some will and the new Accord may be just the ticket?

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:aot1d09s][email protected][/email:aot1d09s]
 
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Hi All:

___After thinking about this for a few minutes, who am I kidding … smaller ICE, larger IMA for 30 – 60 mph acceleration, and balance shafts on a 3 cylinder ICE for longevity purposes? These may help but will more then likely hinder the Insight’s ok performance and the lousy torque curve of most electric motors at 1000 RPM and above is not the way to look for 30 to 60 mph acceleration in the least …

___The Accords already extremely powerful but highly efficient V6 would be the perfect candidate for a large IMA setup. It would never not be in a great high torque power band!

___Maybe I had better read up on the HCH’s ICE and IMA a bit more before I amateurishly redesign what the best ICE designers in the world have designed for our Insight’s, Civic Hybrid’s, and the new Hybrid equipped Accord ;) I just hope Honda has performed some magic because the Prius is one heck of a design to beat as far as economy, performance, and overall usability is concerned.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:2ued3l3p][email protected][/email:2ued3l3p]
 

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xcel:

Have you spent any time in the Prius? I ask because I still prefer the Honda approach to Hybrids.

Who really cares if the Prius can operate for brief periods in full EV mode? It is limited by speed, SOC, throttle position, etc. It is difficult to do, and cannot be selected as apparently it could in previous years. I rented an 04 Prius for 3 days to check it out. I also formally challenge the MPG rating, and will bet that the vast majority of drivers will be averaging mid-, MAYBE upper-40's.

The Honda version is more suited to my taste since it is relatively much less complex, and an overall simpler design. The Insight is even better in that area, as it is about as simple as a modern car can be. The Prius is a study in complexity and driver disconnect. I do freely admit it is a nice vehicle, and I actually may have even bought one if any were available.:wink:

I just hope they think about doing a hybrid Accord with the I4 in addtion to the V6. It would make me feel better.... :p
 
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Hi Holicow:

___I had a 10 minute drive in one just the other day. The HSD may be a complex to most but look inside the PSD/planetary CVT. Its simplicity to the end user is what makes it work … The CVT is compact, and runs very efficiently when mated to a relatively heavy 2,900 # automobile. The item I really like about Toyota’s drive train (HSD package) it is that there are very few reported problems with the 01-03 Prius’. Take a look through the Honda Insight forums here as well as Edmunds, and the Yahoo’s Honda Hybrid groups. The Insight has many more issues posted vs. the 01-03 Prius and the 04 is almost as robust sans the early CEL’s that gave some new Prius owners fits.

___As for the EV mode, it’s not the EV mode in and of itself that I am interested in, it’s the efficiency that comes about from EV mode. The much higher capacity Electric motors low RPM torque supplies most of the needs of the Prius in low speed city driving conditions and without burning fuel in many cases thus giving the 04 its city efficiency and extremely low emissions. It is not a replacement for the ICE in the least but when the ICE does run, it appears to be running in a tighter band of RPM’s although there wasn’t a tach so I can only guess as to what the ICE was actually doing at a given speed and load? It was noisy when it was running while accelerating.

___EPA estimates are tough to meet for most but a fellow Insighter hit an indicated 60 mpg in a lengthy test drive just the other day in an 04 Prius. He goes by the nick Hondainsightful in the Yahoo-Honda-Hybrid group … His commentary was as follows:
I've driven every hybrid on the market. Insight manual. Insight CVT. Civic Hybrid manual. CVT. And the Classic Prius. And now today I drove the New Prius for the first time.

I'll keep this short and sweet:

- First impression looking at rear of car: "It's an Insight!" The
rear hatch is very, very similar in design.

- With all the nifty features like voice-activated radio, steering-
wheel-mounted controls, and BlueTooth, I felt like I was in my
friend's luxury Acura. Toyota could easily re-label this a "Lexus"
and sell it for ~$30,000.

- I drove the New Prius along my commute route (I-95) and came up
with 60 miles per gallon... exactly the same as my Civic Hybrid Test
Drive.

- Overall impression: The Prius is a very, very nice car. I still
prefer the sportier gauges and feel of the Civic Hybrid, but that's
just my opinion. I think Toyota did an excellent job of taking the
Prius from a econo-box feel to a luxury feel. Congrats!
___Since he also hit 60 in a HCH, he is at least matching and slightly beating EPA estimates.

___Remember the 2,900 # figure? It truly does have room for 5 whereas the Civic Hybrid is a tough sell for 5 let alone even 4. The rear seat room in the 04 Prius is darn good although its rear seat headroom leaves a lot to be desired imho.

___Finally, the 04 Prius will not replace a 5-speed Insight for us hwy commuters but it will replace the CVT based Insight quite easily given the lower price, more features, more amenities, larger size, and all at practically the same EPA efficiency. I sure hope the Accord Hybrid has some real world something to compete against the 04 Prius but I have to wonder if the American populace wants 0-60 in maybe 7.5 seconds or less or the Prius’ 55 mpg EPA combined w/ a 0 - 60 in 9.8 seconds even if it doesn’t achieve the EPA estimates for most …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:5ee77jce][email protected][/email:5ee77jce]
 

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The American Prius needs an "EV only" button like the European Prius. Why? Because in true city driving, the engine keeps starting up and wasting gas. The Prius needs that "override" to keep the engine turned off.
 

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im pretty sure the prius runs on an atkinson cycle engine.
US hybrids can not be legally plugged in, so an EV only button would require a plug in. and charging the batterys would need to be done by the engine later anyway...though i wish the laws were different.
 

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V6 vs I4

Holicow said:
"...as much engine as they need..."

Why is Honda making a hybrid with even more power than the "regular" V6? Why not just add the IMA to the I4 that is apparently all the LX needs at present?

It seems that the hybrid concept is veering a little off-course, more toward performance enhancement rather than fuel economy.

Same for the SUV hybrids that Toyota/Lexus is bringing out. Performance, excess weight, status, with a little "green" to satisfy the little gnawing from your conscience...

I think the reason for the 6 is that its going to be running on
3 cyl while cruzing.
 

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stevo12886 said:
US hybrids can not be legally plugged in, so an EV only button would require a plug in.
(scratches head) I don't know who told you that?

(1) The EV-only mode in Europe allows up to 30 miles/hour and no plug required. Instead, the battery drains down to near-empty and then the engine turns on.

(2) A plugable hybrid is no different from an electric car with an on-board generator... and those are 100% legal.
 
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