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Discussion Starter #1
I've now had my Green machine for about a month now and I'm noticing that tooling around town the charging level will have a net daily loss. It's now at half. I've been lucky I guess in that there have been a few long interstate trips where it charges fully, but around town do I have to go for a drive to find a hill to recharge it??? Doesn't this kind of negate some of the gas savings by having to do this?
I mean if your normal daily drive, and I drive this VERY conservatively with MPG and IMA charging in mind, you are seeing a net loss, is there something wrong or do I have to find other roads?
 

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Two options if your concerned about the IMA being lower. You can just drive it as you are and once it gets below 1/2 it will begin to show some charge after you accelerate and should take care of itself. Alternatively shifting at a higher RPM will result in less IMA use. With heavy AC use I can burn through a full charge in a couple miles easily if I lugged it and made the IMA do the work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ima charging

Thanks, Rick. So the charging kicks in more when it falls below half? Does this mean that it charges differently at that point?

I'm not using the AC at all.

I'll try shifting at higher RPMs. Which brings up another perhaps rookie question: The shift arrow seems to ask you to shift much sooner than I would normally do so. Anyone else find this to be the case? In fact, I think it hurts MPG to shift to 5th so fast in certain situations, like 37 MPH on a slight incline, yet it wants me to do so.
 

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Yeah basically the background normal charge it doesn't show it will show if you get down to about half, and I think it tries to put more back in to the pack. Just play you'll find the different modes of opperation.

And yes the upshift lights are a bit too soon in my opinion (and most others). They're set for efficiency generally, but as you pointed out staying in forth sometimes is the best bet. When I first got mine I shifted at those shift points until I took it up the first big hill. Bas mistake ran out of juice at the point where I really needed it most. Needless to say after that I learned to just drive it like a normal car.
 

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How much assist do you see when you accellerate on average? If you are following the (flawed, in my opinion) advice to accellerate at wide open throttle, stop. You're using much more power then you can ever regen back into the battery. I generally accellerate using 1/4 assist, then when coming to a stop shift into 2nd and regen to a stop with light touch on the brake. Around town, my battery stays only one or two bars from the top.

On the highway, my SOC is generally 3 to 4 bars from the top since there's more WOT accelleration in 5th gear, and less regen. But a long regen in 5th on the first off ramp generally returns the battery to almost full again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ima

Well I'm now down below half. I can't fathom how anyone can possibly drive an Insight with little or no assist. Mine comes on virtually every time in 1-2-3rd gear, which I obviously need to get up to speed. I'm starting to not be the happiest camper since I feel that I need to divert my drive to include a couple hills going one direction and not in the other just so I can recharge. That's completely silly.
 

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Mine will not start charging until one or sometimes two bars. I am glad it does this since I can get maximum mpg during the day when my route is a less energy intensive one, and then force charge with the headlight load at night when I drive a more energy intensive route route (causing negligable energy change). It has changed to this mode since I installed a tiny 3W solar panel inside the rear window to charge the 12V battery. Sounds strange since this is such a small amount of current, but it is the only thing I can think of. Charging used to start around 6 bars or so. I also drive with much less assist these days, so maybe that has something to do with it. When driving on the highway at 75 or 80 mph, the charging still starts around 6 bars. If you are having trouble keeping your charge level up during the day, turn on your headlights.
 

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Re: ima

grnmachine said:
Well I'm now down below half. I can't fathom how anyone can possibly drive an Insight with little or no assist. Mine comes on virtually every time in 1-2-3rd gear, which I obviously need to get up to speed. I'm starting to not be the happiest camper since I feel that I need to divert my drive to include a couple hills going one direction and not in the other just so I can recharge. That's completely silly.
If you need to change your driving habits, then something's wrong. I've never been "afraid" of climbing even the most gnarly hills.

Accellerating with 1/4 assist is totally doable, and it's how I've been driving the car for the last three years. I find it gives the best mileage vs. performance (ie. not looking like a jerk taking 10 minutes to get to the speed limit). Accelleration is slower then those around you but no worse many other vehicles on the road. If I need to go faster (ie. pass, switch lanes, race ;) ) then I just plant the pedal. Once you get good at this, you can even lift off the pedal slowly and let the mileage gauge wind out to 75 or so while still maintaining your assist for accelleration.

Even when I fly around town using full assist from every green light, regen takes care of keeping the battery basically full.

Are you using regen to stop every time? In what gear and speed? Or are you coasting down and thus wasting all that energy?

The Insight is a far more "manual" hybrid then any other out there. It relies on the driver to manage charging/assist. This is it's greatest strength, but for some (those who don't want to be involved in driving :) ) it is a huge weakness.
 

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Re: ima

Aaron Cake said:
<snip>

Are you using regen to stop every time? In what gear and speed? Or are you coasting down and thus wasting all that energy?

The Insight is a far more "manual" hybrid then any other out there. It relies on the driver to manage charging/assist. This is it's greatest strength, but for some (those who don't want to be involved in driving :) ) it is a huge weakness.

Good point Aaron,

grnmachine you must remain in gear, do not shift to neutral when decelerating (until almost stopped ;) ) else you will not charge the IMA battery sufficiently to maintain a higher overall IMA SoC (State of Charge). Watch the IMA gauge to see and learn how to _help_ manage its SoC.


For some of the other IMA quirks and explanations see:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=750

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ima

Thanks for all the info.
I'm usually seeing 1/4 assist on normal acceleration. I rarely push to the floor and see full or near full assist...only when I see a huge tanker coming up on my tail! Rarely. It's just normal driving. I'm always trying to utilize the regen braking charge...sometime it doesn't kick in. I find that if you're in 4th going down hill you won't see the charge lights, so I try and find that 'pull', usually in 3rd or even 2nd to max the green charge. Still, not to whine, but it's running less than half. Should I not worry because it will take care of itself eventually? Since I'm a new driver I've never seen it this low..just don't want to see it drain completely.
 

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grnmachine - I wouldn't concern yourself too much about it. I have had three Insights and the IMA battery levels have always hovered around half or a third. Why? You said it yourself - 'tooling around town' - if you do not have regular highway journeys (like myself) then urban journeys naturally lend themselves to accelerate and stop, where it is easier to use more assist than get back in regen. You will only see it drain completely during a recalibration. I always get a surprise on long highway journeys seeing the IMA battery near full!
 

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Don't forget that your mpg is what is important at the end of the day, and the battery and hybrid system is only there to boost that.

As long as your fuel economy (mpg) is good, then don't be concerned.

My comment would be to completely ignore the battery for a week or two and instead only focus on maximizing your mpg at all times. I used to drive where I tried to reduce the battery on the way up hills (using more assist) and charge it again on the way down, and that added a lot of micromanaging of trips but didn't yield much better mpg really. Keeping my mind on the instantaneous fuel economy was what really made the difference in efficiency, not watching and nuturing the battery SOC.

It sounds like you are driving a bit like I was back then. Just ignore SOC for a while and obsess on the instantaneous mpg instead, you'll probably find that your tank mileages go up which is what you want to see anyway.
 

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Generally in town I downshift to 2nd gear from 40 MPH and lower. A VERY light touch on the brake gives full regen down to about 18MPH, then it startsd to taper off until I get none at 12 MPH or so.

On the highway, I usually leave it in 5th in almost any circumstance. On off ramps, long regens in 5th are enough to add several bars to the SOC, and sometimes even put the car into thermal cutback. If I am descending a large hill, I shift to 3rd and lightly touch the brake. Same effect as 5th, but less regen current to the batteries.

In 4th you still should see regen.
 
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