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Discussion Starter #1
I live in tehachapi, California, and I work in Bakersfield California. My commute is only about 50 miles each way, but over that 50 miles, there is a 3,500 feet elevation change over the Tehachapi pass. I am sure the insight would do fine on the trip from tehachapi to Bakersfield, but I was wondering how well it would do from bakersfield to tehachapi? There are several sections of the road that are 3 to 5 miles of 5% grade. I currently commute in a V-6 Chevy S-10, and I have to drop it into 4 to climb the grades. I would like to be able to climb these grades at least at 55 mph.

If I do buy an Insight, it will more than likely be used, and I imagine the condition of the battery will be an issue that will determine how well the car climbs the grade. I am conserned that I will have to deal with the battery cutting out half way up the hill, and I have to finish the climb on the gas engine alone. How well does it climb hills on the gas engine?

Thanks,
C. Alan
 

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I think you would make it fine. You have (at least) 2 options to approach the big hills:

1. Max MPG: Leave it in 5th or maybe 4th if necessary, and floor it. You will use a lot of battery assist, and this will help your mileage, but really pound your battery. You can watch your charge meter drop, drop, drop, while your jaw clenches and sweat breaks out on your forehead as you try to will the car up the road, until you have no choice but to downshift.

2. Low stress: Drop it into 3rd (or even 2nd if you're in a big hurry), and scoot up the hill. No, this isn't the best approach for max efficiency, but you will still use 3 or 4 times less gas than your truck.

Since your route is a little extreme, it might be best for you to try your usual drive in an Insight if at all possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The grape vine is a fair comparison

Yes, the grapevine is a fair comparison. I have to climb about 500 more feet, but the lenghth is about the same.

Thanks for the links.
--C. Alan
BTW, go Beavers!
 

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Welcome C. Alan-

You should have no trouble maintaining 65-70+mph in 3rd gear going up the hills. Regaining that speed in case you have to slow down is not quite so easy. If a 2 seater with a 400lb total capacity fits your needs then I think you would be quite happy with it.
 

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I travel weekly from Upstate NY to lower WV. It is 500 miles with many climbs like you describe.
As you were told you can climb these hills different ways, but the point is you can climb them with no problem. The little 1 litre has no troube no matter what you ask it to do. It never overheats or looses power.
The trick is to get good mileage.
I have 70.2 lifetime and slowly climbing, it is a challange to still have a little battery when you get to the top of some hills, but all it takes is a little practice, each hill is different.
You won't regret buying an Insight.
Good luck,
Rick M
 

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C. Alan,

I drive from Bakersfield to LAX every day. It does fine up and down the pass. I can go up at 90 mph in "S" mode if I want to, but then the mileage goes to hell. I have been doing this for 2 years now (53,000 miles) and the battery pack works just fine. There is another person in Tehachapi who has been commuting to Bakersfield for 4 years in an insight. His still works great, as far as I know.
 

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I commute straight up the rim of the world - from almost sea level at San Bernardino straight up 5500 vertical feet, with no problem. I have a CVT, and the car scoots right up with little urging, and at the top, my batteries are about 1/3 full.
 
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