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Discussion Starter #1
There have been many comments on this site about what car to replace our Insights with when the time comes, especially if there is no replacement model from Honda.
The car itself being aluminium is likely to outlast the battery pack
so when that expense arrives (plus increasing gas prices) why not consider stripping out the ICE, cooling system, exhaust system, fuel tank, Battery pack and associated electronics and converting to full electric.
Since our cars were designed from the ground up with efficiency at the forefront I think they would make an ideal conversion to full electric power.
You would be starting with a light weight aerodynamic structure that has low rolling resistance, an ideal efficient base for electric power.
Compare this to most electric conversions utilising big heavy high drag normal vehicles.
With such a light weight base and by choosing the right batteries and motor the overall weight should be no more than the original….
Tesla performance anyone?

Of course ones expectations of the cars range would have to change unless like GMs Volt a separate power source was used to charge the pack extending the range.
As more and more interest develops in electric cars I can see the Insight being sought out by enterprising small companies specialising in these conversions.
The components are out there for anyone to modify their car or have it done its not rocket science.
Even with no replacement for the Insight I believe it still has a bright future as a full electric. :)


DGate
 

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Dgate, I couldn't agree more. :D

In 10 to 15 years there should be over a million scrapped Prius etc. (By then the million or so hybrids currently on the road will be rusted, accidented, or have 300,000 miles on the odometer.) Likely there will be shops producing bearing conversion kits to use the 50 hp. Synergy motors. Add a big Lithium pack and a lightweight 10 hp. generator for extended range and you have a thing of beauty. 8)
 

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I've been thinking about this lately. I'm part of an EV club in Ottawa (evco.ca), and many of our members drive electric cars - some custom made, others purchased (Solectria).

Our Insight is the perfect conversion candidate, like you say. If anyone here decides to go through with it, I'd sure like to hear about it.

Cheers,
Ron

PS - just came across this Insight conversion: http://ev.whitecape.org/insight/
 

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Hey Ron, you know Bobs lake is about two hours from Ottawa. Sorry I didn't know about your monthly meetings sooner. It looks like I just missed your last meeting. 8)
 

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... being aluminium is likely to outlast the battery pack so ... why not consider stripping out the ICE, cooling system, exhaust system, fuel tank, Battery pack and associated electronics and converting to full electric.:
...Even with no replacement for the Insight I believe it still has a bright future as a full electric. :)
You aren't the first one to suggest that here at Insight Central.

Fred / Proud Owner of "The Silver Bullet"
 

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Or a total heart transplant & pop a Civic type R engine in there when our die.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes Mark you could put anything in there but the idea is to move forward and maintain or improve the eco friendly aspect of the Insight and leave petrol behind.
I would like to have something that runs off solar or clean energy and doing a conversion may be the only option since anything that is produced will be prohibitively expensive.
And yes I know its already been done and has appeared on this forum but we all need reminding (especially new members)that there are other options to replacing the Insight.
With all the buzz over the Tesla, the Volt and plug in hybrids, having a base unit like the Insight for conversion to electric is half the battle.
We have several members modifying their cars for added speed or power still hooked on fossil fuel but I have only seen one owner going the electric route.

DGate
 

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At a recent environmental GTG last year (it was cold as all get out, and we were worrying about global warming :lol: ) there were two all-electric car conversions of note, one was a Pontiac Fiero, and the other was a Honda Civic. I didn't spend much time with either of the two gentlemen, but eventually, it would be fun to find someone who would help/do it for/direct me to someone who would convert it for me, I think an EV Insight would be such a hoot... :D
 

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Kip: If you're ever in town let me know. There's a number of Insighters around Ottawa/Gatineau.

Evco had 10 EVs/Hybrids to the meeting Monday night. (I'm the only Insight owner in the group as far as I know). Last monday of every month we meet at the museum of science and technology. Talking about EV conversions - one of our members just finished a Mazda Miata that is driven by electric motor and charged by a small biodiesel generator located in the trunk. See
http://www.thezerocarboncar.com/

Sorry to go off topic, just had to share.
 

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Seems a shame to get rid of the gas engine, given how it stacks up against others. Then there's the range issue with full electric - I do 250 mile trips over mountains, and the 700+ mile range of the Insight is a real timesaver.

I'd rather look at enhancing the battery system, maybe replacing the battery pack (which has fairly high conversion losses) with flywheel storage when that becomes commercially available.
 

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The question was posed, what do we do when the Insight engine wears out or gasoline gets seriously expensive. Right now gasoline is still at historically cheap levels if you take into account inflation and consider what its real cost should be. One idea I suggested was to take a scrap Prius engine and team it up with cheap high tech batteries as both should be plentiful in 10 to 15 years. Making an aluminum bodied car is expensive and difficult now and will certainly be more expensive in ten years, so the most valuable part of the Insight may prove to be its body! The absolute worst case scenario would be if recyclers melt down used Insights for the aluminum in the engine and body, and for the cobalt and nickel in the electric motor batteries and muffler system. :cry: The Insight is unique and the majority of them are in North America. They should be considered a national treasure of sorts. Since I'm still hoping to find a used or scrapped one at a reasonable price perhaps I shouldn't be talking like this.

The idea of a flywheel car was seriously examined in the sixties. The proposed solution involved a disk thinned out logarithmically towards the outside spinning at 100,000 RPM in a vacuum bottle. In the case of an accident you would have the kinetic energy equivalent to 200 to 600 sticks of dynamite depending on the size of the vehicle which could be released in a fraction of a second. You would also have to deal with the gyroscopic effect requiring the flywheel to be mounted in a gimbaled support and connected to the drive train by magnetic fields. My impression was that the idea was suddenly abandoned, though for all I know it is being developed for some secret government device such as a rail gun or reconnaissance drone.
 

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james said:
Seems a shame to get rid of the gas engine, given how it stacks up against others. Then there's the range issue with full electric - I do 250 mile trips over mountains, and the 700+ mile range of the Insight is a real timesaver.
What'd be perfect is a true hybrid, possibly an all electric local, however, with a switch to go into gasoline mode for long trips.
 

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Another interesting possibility may be steam power....... I kid you not.

Coincidentally there was an obituary in todays Melbourne newspaper for Ted Pritchard who spent much of his life developing a modern steam car. He built a working prototype in the 1970's but couldn't get backing from anyone able to manufacture the car.

"In his 70's, Pritchard declared that he would draw one last engine before he died. This engine, known as the S5000 (Steam 5 kilowatts) is designed to burn low-grade fuel such as coconut husks straw or waste paper and produce electricity.... When he finished the drawings for the S5000 Pritchard declared that he had finally done for steam engines what IBM did for computers - reduce them in scale and increase their power to weight ratio to the point where they could become a commonly available and useful technology. He died while the first prototype of the S5000 was being made by a Gillon Group subsidiary, MTN Tooling in Bentleigh.... which hopes to market a Pritchard engine by the middle of next year."
 

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james said:
... the range issue with full electric ...
Keep an eye on what's happening regarding development with batteries. What may shortly come about is a "full electric" augmented by a very small ICE or auxilliary powerplant, a combination which will easily give you the range you made mention of, and something to which an Insight shell could easily be adapted to.

Fred / Proud Owner of "The Silver Bullet"
 

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I agree that the Insight may be the ultimate conversion car to EV.

I purchased my Insight last year with the idea to change it to a 100% EV.
It turned out to be in good enough condition that I am still driving it and even have a new battery pack thanks to Honda.

A fellow in Washington State has already converted his Insight. I will post the website address as soon as I find it or Google may find it for you.
 

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The idea of a flywheel car... My impression was that the idea was suddenly abandoned, though for all I know it is being developed for some secret government device such as a rail gun or reconnaissance drone.
Well, '60s technology was '60s technology. Today the flywheels are using carbon fiber and such, which can spin a lot faster, and which disintegrates into easily-contained bits if it does fail. The magnetic suspension in a vacuum is a desirable characteristic, since it just about eliminates friction losses.

As far as energy equivalent goes, it'd be about the same as in the gasoline in your tank, which (as we all know from Hollywood) catches fire and explodes in any crash.

The field seems to be undergoing a renaissance lately. There are such flywheel storage systems available for power backup systems, and plans to incorporate them into e.g. solar-powered homes instead of batteries. There's a lot of info on the web. If you have access to it, I'd suggest starting with a Science News article from a couple of months ago.
 

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The whole idea of EVs is a wonderful one. I, personally, can't wait until I can buy an EV or perform a conversion at a reasonable price. This is probably obvious given my username. :D

I consider my Insight a stop-gap until EVs become affordable. I personally sat in a Tango T600 (http://www.commutercars.com, the red one you see in the pictures) and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, that's a 6 figure car. :roll: Wish the big guys would get involved and produce it, or something like it, at a level us mere mortals can afford. But then you need mere mortals to sign off on buying them and, let's face it, we're in a tiny minority group of crazy people as far as the sheeple that make up the general public are concerned. A lot of people love my Insight, they tell me I'm "lucky" to own it and they "wish" they had one, etc, but not a single one of them has gone out and actually bought one. :roll:

Affordable EVs are probably going to remain in the domain of the backyard tinkerers like us for some time to come. I hold out a lot of hope for cars like the Volt. If it comes out as advertised, I'll trade my Insight for one in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the 40 mile range will probably turn into a 20 mile range and it will probably only get 40mpg when running the generator, etc. Seems every time the auto industry "innovates", there's always a catch and it's usually in favor of the oil oligarchs.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The only way we will have affordable EVs is if some western manufacturer sets up in China and takes advantage of the low labor rates.
Of course China is producing its own designs at this very moment but the ones available in the west are a bit odd.

DGate
 
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