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Hey there. I'm 18 and lisenceless (hopefully not for too much longer though, *sigh*) but I've grown really interested in these Insights. My dad said something to me the other day, that the IMA battery has been electrocuting workers as they attempt to use the Jaws of Life to extract people from gas/electric cars.

I took what he said with a grain of salt, and this doesn't make much sense to me. I'm pretty sure he was just using his own judgement on this, and didn't actually read anything viable about it. He's a fanatic conservative and probably feels that hybrids are a threat to the gas industry. :roll:

Thanks.
 

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The Insight is a 12 volt system. Actually the amperage of the Insight battery pack is not that much more than some really really big hi quality on the street 12V batteries - especially if you hook three of them in parallel to make sure your truck starts in a northern Canadian winter.

If the jaws of life have a problem with an Insight, then they are going to have a problem with regular Detroit iron, too. Not a lot of difference except that the Insight has better fuel tank (the gasoline part) protection BY FAR. The only thing I ever see in movies is all of those 'other' cars blowing up when they get hit, dropped, punched, rolled or shoved over a cliff. I've NEVER seen an Insight get blown up. Not even in Iraq. They keep showing smoking pictures of those big Hummers and SUVs...now there is a dangerous vehicle. Ask you dad about that one, huh?

(How come racing cars hitting walls at 200mph don't explode like the ones in the movies? I mean, all the track wrecks do is loose a few parts and sometimes spread fuel around that sometimes burns - no big bang, hmmmm SUV's gotta have a really bad design going for them, maybe).

What your dad is probably referring to is the current Urban Legend being passed around.

Concerned Insight drivers do, however, all wear alumium foil britches and hats to make sure the EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) from the frequent Auto Start does not destroy the current and future generations. Passengers don't have to worry 'cause the ignition switch is on the driver's side. :roll:
 

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SPeacock said:
All of us Insight drivers do, however, all wear alumium foil britches and hats to make sure the EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) from the frequent Auto Start does not destroy the current and future generations. :roll:
I'll have to try that instead of the chainmail and grounded wriststrap I am wearing now :D
 

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no. what happened was all the firefighters had to go through new training with the hybrids because of the wires that go from the battery in the trunk to the engine is really dangerous so they had to be shown where to cut and where not cut in case they need to use the jaws of life.

Thats all there is to it.
 

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I think it is kind of funny how the hybrids seem to be singled out with respect to "dangerous" battery systems and problems for first responders. I read an article several months ago (sorry, don't remember the source) but it basically said that ALL new cars are becoming more dangerous for the response crews. The reason...mainly... more air bags and "smart" airbag systems that may not deploy all the airbags in a crash. As the crews start to cut through the car, they never know if there is a side curtain air bag, door air bag, undeployed front air bags, etc. You just about need a schematic for each car on the road! Maybe they could just start putting "Cut here" lines on the cars...maybe use ultraviolet ink or something...you'd never see it until the emergency guys put on special glasses or shined a black light at the car.
 

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The IMA wires are orange and travel down the center of the car under the floor. There is a heavy guage plastic cover holding them up under the floor and it is also coloured bright orange. By the time you get to them you will have already cut through the gas lines of the car. I'm sure rescue workers are trained not to cut through gas lines.
 

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Let me try and clear up some misconceptions.

You can read Honda's own emergency response guide for the Insight, or print it out for your relatives. The gist of it is you're safe as long as you don't mess with any of the wires inside the bright orange conduit.

There have been no reports of any emergency workers being shocked by any hybrid car. As you can see in the diagrams of the linked PDF or the encyclopedia on the main site, the high-voltage cables (again, inside that really obvious bright orange conduit) go underneath the cabin, and are far from anywhere that a rescue worker might be. All the areas where the rescue worker will be are chassis-grounded.

Even if for some reason you do mess with the high-voltage wiring, they won't be hot unless the IMA is being triggered, which is highly unlikely after a crash. An emergency worker can still totally disable all of that by turning the ignition key or by disconnecting the 12v battery ground.

It's misleading to say "The Insight is a 12v system." The IMA is 144v DC. It is dangerous. You should be careful about stating that it's just as safe as a 12v car or truck battery.

Cars in movies blow up because they think we think it's cool, and therefore they fill them with explosives and gasoline. Often the car blows up before it even hits the ground... a true sign of a Bad Action Movie.
 

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yeah, but they still had to be trained because it is still dangerous to cut into cars and be unaware of where everything is in a hybrid.
 

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Well, it's the same as in any other car, isn't it? The only difference is the power cables, which as mentioned, run underneath the cabin and clearly labeled.

There's some myth circulating in the media that the cables run through the doors. This is not true, but is have been published before, which seems to fuel the misconception that hybrids are built radically different from other cars.
 

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well all firefighters had to go through special training on the honda insight because it can only be cut open in a certain way. So I don't know ...
 

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A special Insight training...?

Man, I'd LOVE to see the Powerpoint on that little class.

A trained Jaws of Life handler will snip-snip the A pillar(s), peel back the roof, and extricate the driver/passenger of an upright vehicle in very little time. They can even extricate victims by popping the doors off when the vehicle has been overturned. Unless you've got a driver that's really augered him/herself deep into something, there's no reason to even think about going through the bottom-center of a car, and common sense (and all EMT guys I've ever had the pleasure to meet have common sense) would keep them from trying that, as they know any vehicle manufacturer (except maybe the maker of the Flintstone's car with a hole in the floor) routes gas and electrical either through the doorsills or the center.

I love the urban legend of the wires through the doors of hybrids, though. I never cease to be amused and amazed at the stoopidity of people... :lol:
 
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Hi All:

___I work with a few volunteer firefighters and no, most do not receive a stitch of training on Hybrid’s. They are just coming around to the multiple igniters for roof and curtain airbags. Just last week, one of the guys, “Bing” as he’s known to my group, came up to me and said your car is electrocuting firefighters! I said whoooaa, I have never heard of that. This was right after the wires in the door fiasco some news org’s jumped all over. I did some searching in the Prius forums and found Toyota’s own press releases as well saying not one Fire Fighter has been injured to date when extricating an individual from a hopelessly mangled Prius. There was also quite a bit of information about the Prius’ mains tripping with any air bag deployment so only the pack itself has the potential to cause harm. With that, firefighters don’t normally break open cars by going through the lower back seats for the most part …

___The concern is not really with severing the wires with a tool directly but when these guys use the multiple “Jaws of Life” tools, sometimes they literally bend the car open for access. The power cables could be severed or at least the sheathing/insulation could be cut as the car is split open. If the main power cable was live during the expansion; there is the possibility of a problem.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:1w4zrknc][email protected][/email:1w4zrknc]
 

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I recently had this same argument on the RX-7 Forum, and cleared up all the misconceptions. Head over to http://www.rx7club.com , and use the search function to search the "Lounge" for "hybrid danger". Should be easily found.
 

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Okay, guys. You've touched a nerve.

Apologies in advance to those who have already heard my story.

I owned a 2000 Honda Insight. February of 2003, my wife was alone in the car, driving when it was T-boned by an SUV. Four women college students and a cell phone decided to make a blind (view blocked by an oncoming 18-wheeler turning left at the same intersection) left turn. They struck the Insight square on to the driver's side front wheel such that the right edge of the SUV's bumper put a deep crease in the Insight's driver-side door about a foot back from the hinge.

The SUV was probably doing about 5mph. The Insight was probably doing about 20. The Insight essentially bounced off with little over-all visible damage, while the SUV nearly had its bumper ripped off.

I didn't see it until after it had been peeled open by the rescue workers and towed to the junk yard.

The driver's side window was open about 4". When I saw it, the driver's side door opened and closed normally, despite the sheet-metal damage. It latched and unlatched just like a normal door. The rear hatch also worked normally, with a key when I got there.

The story is that nobody could get the doors open. My wife, confused by the accident, tried to unlock the doors using the dongle. Likely, the electric door locks didn't work because the door sensor probably read the mangled door as "open". That's my guess. Whatever the case, the dongle didn't unlock the doors and my wife could not open them from inside the car. She doesn't remember if she tried mechanically unlocking them.

To her credit, she repeatedly asked rescue workers for a cell phone to call me, since I was within a mile away at the time and I knew the car in ways she never bothered to learn because she hates machines. She also crawled over to the passenger side in order to get the Owner's Manual out of the glove compartment and tried to read about the door locks.

Before she could clear her eyes of tears enough to find and read that section of the manual, the rescue workers claim that they got her to pass them the keys to the car through the open window and they claim that they tried to unlock the doors and the rear latch and could not get anything to open.

They then decided to open the car, despite my wife's screaming protests. They passed her a blanket through the open driver's side window and told her to cover her head with the blanket.

They had broken their special window-smashing hammer the previous week, so they pulled out a sledge hammer and pounded on the passenger side window next to my wife's head. One of her worst injuries was to her hearing from the noise of them slamming the window with a sledge hammer.

They later explained that they wanted to break the window in order to avoid having it shatter while they tore the door off. Somehow, they figured she'd be hurt less by glass hurled by a sledge hammer than by glass hurled by the Jaws of Life. Go figure.

They failed to break the window. They then decided that the window must be made of bullet-proof glass. I kid you not. In an e-mail exchange through this idiot's boss, the guy who did this explained that he heard a rumor that some car manufacturers were using bullet-proof plastic for side windows and figured this must be one of those.

They then took the Jaws of life and shredded the passenger-side front fender and severed the door hinge (being very careful to avoid the electric cables that run the electric windows and electric locks because they heard rumors that high-powered electric lines would be found here and they might be electrocuted).

They then shredded most of the passenger-side, rear body panel in order to sever the door latch. They pulled the passenger side door off, leaving it dangling by the electric wires they were afraid to cut, and they "rescued" my wife, basically getting her out of the car and having her stand by the curb while they ignored her so they could go talk to the cute co-eds in the other vehicle. The driver and one of the passengers were identical twins. They got a lot of attention.

My wife? Well, the rescue worker who handed her a form to sign refused to even loan her a pen. When my wife pointed to the pen in the rescue worker's pocket, the answer was, "That's MY pen."

She managed to borrow a pen from someone else to sign the form.

She also remembers hearing the rescue guy saying, "Gee, I've never had a chance to work on one of these little hybrids before." He also talked about how he looked forward to writing an article for a rescue worker's magazine based on this experience.

The guy from the junk yard showed up, fearlessly snipped the electric wire still attached to the door and stuffed the door across the seats in the Insight and towed it to the junk yard.

I wrote to the rescue squad. The head of the rescue squad then showed my e-mail to the guy who destroyed my car. That guy wrote a message that his boss then passed on to me without revealing his identity and we had one more exchange.

They think that maybe the frame was bent putting pressure on all three doors so they wouldn't open, and maybe the jaws of life releaved that pressure such that the rear hatch and driver's side door miraculously started working normally again after the passenger side door was removed.

When I looked at the car, the hood looked straight with the windshield. The gap between the windshield and hood was even all the way across.

Both front fenders were destroyed. The driver's side front wheel was deeply scratched and had a less-than-an-inch chip out of one edge. The tire was flat, cut along a line in line with the chip and the deepest scratch in the wheel. The driver's side door was compressed for about a foot nearest the hinge, but it worked fine. The outer half the driver's side headlight was missing and the inner half was intact.

The rest of the driver's side of the car looked fine. The passenger side was badly mangled and the door pulled off, then jammed onto both seats.

I went to this Web site and sent the rescue squad the .pdf file for the rescue worker's manual for dealing with the Insight. Maybe the rest of the world has rescue workers who don't know about the Insight, but in Charlottesville Virginia, they have no more excuse.

The cable, by the way, doesn't run down the middle of the bottom of the car. It runs under the driver's side floor. Everything else in this thread is fairly accurate.

Know that if a rescue worker ever got electrocuted while doing an extraction on a hybrid, it would make front-page news.

Note that it hasn't.

Oh, and the first thing I did when I got that nice insurance settlement was go out and order another Honda Insight. I had to wait a few months, but now I love the new one as much as I loved the old one, though gas mileage is a bit lower, since I now live in town and do a lot more city driving, and I now have air conditioning (my wife's preference).

Stories about hybrids being really dangerous to open are a crock.

Oh, and the old Insight was silver. This is also known as "grey", the dominant color of all things at dusk. The new one is "red". Very red.

I figured that I've got a 1992 Honda Civic that is very red. Nobody ever hit that. Maybe the color has something to do with it. So, the new Insight has the same color. I got it July 2003. Nobody has hit it yet, so I'm hoping my theory is working.
 

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Will M,

What time of the day was the wreck? I also have a silver 2000 Insight. While techincally not my fault, I have been in four wrecks. Three were at dawn, one was at dusk.

One of those four wreck were unavoidable - better defensive driving could have avoided 2-3 of the others.

Since people are afraid of hybrids anyway, why not go ahead and tell them the battery is a radioactive thermoelectric like the Cassini Saturn probe? :twisted:
 

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Delta Flyer said:
Since people are afraid of hybrids anyway, why not go ahead and tell them the battery is a radioactive thermoelectric like the Cassini Saturn probe? :twisted:
Personally, I think it's a shame they DON'T use RTGs in cars. They could really open the door to electric cars if the "battery" rarely needed replacing. (To my knowledge, RTGs aren't rechargeable)
 

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Will M said:
The new one is "red". Very red.
I figured that I've got a 1992 Honda Civic that is very red. Nobody ever hit that. Maybe the color has something to do with it. So, the new Insight has the same color. I got it July 2003. Nobody has hit it yet, so I'm hoping my theory is working.
Not a theory - colour does make a difference. The British AA carried out a survey and found that the 'safest' cars are bright yellow whereas black cars are most likely to have an accident.
 

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I said it once before - I would have gotten an red Insight if I were to do it again.
 
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Hi Delta_Flyer:

___I specifically ruled out a silver Insight when I purchased mine because of your past postings in regards to its dawn/dusk disappearances.

___Good Luck … And thanks.

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:20pl6nh5][email protected][/email:20pl6nh5]
 
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