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I am a new Insight driver (<2000 miles). The batteries will discharge quite quickly if I accelerate up hill (I often do this - I live in the Appalachain Mtns). If they are between 1/2 and 3/4 full (they rarely get there, even with highway driving), they'll drop to 2 or 3 bars getting on the highway. They seem to charge and discharge very quickly for NiMH batteries (I live with electrical engineers who second this). I am concerned that they aren't performing properly. Any ideas on how to tell?

I am not driving with a heavy foot, as many people seem to suspect online. I do get 74mpg going 55-65.
 

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I'm a fairly new owner as well. My Insight just had the IMA battery replaced under warranty just before I got it and I experience the same conditions as you describe. I can only guess that the electric motor takes a BUNCH of battery power as I usually totally exhaust my assist and battery going up Afton Mountain on I-64 West (not so bad coming east, though). I think it's just the nature of the car and I wouldn't worry too much. Again, I have a brand new battery and I have the exact same conditions as you do exept I am doing 70-75 mph (with reduced mileage).

Hope this helps somewhat.

jfire
 

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Difficult question

Hi and welcome. :D

This is a difficult question which has been posed many times on this forum. A search on "ima battery" should bring up a few older discussions.

The basic answer is there is no real way to accurately assess if your batteries are deteriorating unless they set an IMA code. Code P1447 (Module deterioration) being a common one which signifies a new pack is reqd. If they haven't triggered a code, although they may be weak (and all batteries age :( ) they are still within the system tolerance zone.

An experienced Insight driver could probably tell if you battery was below par depening on how well it held up under high IMA load, how well it recovered and how quickly during a forced charge. 8) But even if it is weak you won't get a new one under warranty (if eligible) until the sytem sets the fault code :(

If you live in a hilly/mountain area and tackle changes of elevation in excess of say 500m during your commute I would expect the battery to be worked hard in an unmodified car unless you crawl up in low gear very slowly. Demanding speed up an incline puts the greatest load on the system, and the IMA will repond to assist until the battery is depleted. This leads to a forced charge and a drop in performance whilst that is active.

At least you are still getting 70+ US mpg which is very good and much more than every other vehicle on your roads ;)

The Insight has limitations and the small battery pack capacity is one of them. It won't perform as well in hilly country as it would on the flat hot open plains, think 100mpg there ;)

Keep you speed down when climbing and select a lower gear, say 2nd or 3rd at the start of the hill, don't labour the IMA/Engine in 4th or 5th, that leads to the most battery stress.

Good luck.

Peter
 

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When your battery discharges, does it drop slowly for some time, then very suddenly go all the way down to 1-2 bars? Does this quick drop keep on happening even if you let up on assist? And does it then reverse the process, charging slowly until about 1/4, then climbing quickly to full charge?

With a good battery, you can probably get assist for about 1000 ft climb on a 6% grade. You can minimize battery use by downshifting, and you should be able to recharge on the downhill.

PS: I disagree about slowing on hills. I do much better if I can keep the speed up, so that I have RPMs enough to stay in a higher gear. Of course I do most of my driving in the Sierras, so my hills are probably a lot longer than yours - though nowhere near as steep as some I encountered in Yorkshire, where apparently if enough sheep climb a hill, they pave it and call it a road :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The batteries perform exactly as you described. They are good for about 500ft of elevation change at 65mph in 3rd gear on a 6% grade. What would that mean?

I did find that it does better if you keep the speed up.
 

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I have a 2001 Insight with 63,500 miles. For a long time, every once in a while, my batteries would discharge quickly - full charge to 2 bars in about 30 seconds or less. Then earlier this year it started to get more frequent - 2-3 times a week. In June, my IMA light came on, and the code revealed that the batteries were going bad. They replaced the batteries, and since June I have yet to have the quick discharge phenomenon.

I live in Little Rock, Arkansas, which also has its share of hills, but even so, it appears that my quick discharging went away with the new battery. In my case, it appears that the frequency with which the discharging was occurring was related to the age of the batteries.

-Ralph
 

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james said:
With a good battery, you can probably get assist for about 1000 ft climb on a 6% grade. You can minimize battery use by downshifting, and you should be able to recharge on the downhill.
I've also found that turning off the air conditioning during the climb seems to help. It kind of makes sense, since the compressor drags off a bunch of horsepower, and the fans pull a hefty hit of electricity.
 
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