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Discussion Starter #1
After 217000 miles I think my Accord is having enough problems to finally make me think about a change. Insight has caught my eye, but I have q's. First, the lay of the land. All my driving is constant high speed highway and very little city. I live in the sticks in MN so there's no traffic, so no stop and go. I will put about 30K a year on the vehicle. I travel for business -- reliability is an issue. Now the q's:

1. This is Minnesota. How does the Insight do in -10 to -15 temps that may last a couple of weeks in a row until it warms up to, oh say, +10 or +12 where it will stay for a few weeks before it drops down again?

2. Since my driving is long range and constant high speed (60 - 75), will the electric motor ever really engage?

3. I understand the battery is an NiMH. My experience with NiMH batteries has been that they develop "memory". If the gas engine is doing about all of the work, the battery would be on charge almost all of the time. Does that compromise the available range under electric power? Worse yet, do I run the risk of damaging the battery because it's kept on charge so much more than it is actually used?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Mile Guy
 

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I'll throw some opinions.

1. I don't know, but Honda sells the Insight in Canada...

2. You don't mind if the electric motor never engages, because that means you are not needing assist, therefore doing fine with the power the tiny gas engine provides, which means getting great mileage.

3. Memory effect is either totally or nearly totally a figment of people's imaginations. Regarding being "on charge" I'm sure that Honda's engineering is not going to cook the batteries. Charging technology is well understood and when the batteries are at full charge I have no doubt that the charging circuitry doesn't just keep pumping amps into them.

But since you already stated that you expect to need very little assist, you shouldn't care even if the batteries develop "memory" or get smoked.

The only thing you might consider is keeping your speed more at the bottom of your stated range than at the top. Your mileage will benefit.
 

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Agree with ethicalpaul

I would suggest installation of the Honda block heater to help the mileage when you are starting out initially in the morning. That will save you the time it takes for the engine to get up to optimal operating temperature and should help mpg significantly when it is very cold.

NiCad batteries were plagued by memory effect in the past. The nickel metal hydride formulation of the Insight's battery should not exhibit any notable memory effect.

My commute is almost 60 miles each way and pure highway. The IMA kicks in a bit on the highway when there is a significant grade change, but my battery rarely gets below 75% charge. I'm not concerned about it as the computer controls keep the battery from being overcharged and there are fans built into the system to keep the air flowing over the pack and keep it cool.

You may want to put a set of dedicated winter tires on since the Insight weighs in at just under 2000 lbs. I run Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S in 185/60/14 for spring through fall and will be putting on a dedicated set of Civic HX wheels with Nokian RSI's in 165/65/14 for the winter.

Good Luck with your decision. Let us know if you have more questions. This is a great forum! :)
 

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Keep your speed down ... try to stay in the fifty to sixty MPH range and watch your MPG soar!

These little cars are great for long range running ... not so great for high speed opeations.

Hope this helps :)

Fred
 

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The Insight is fine at "high" speeds too (meaning around 70). It still gets much better mileage than any other vehicle running at the same speed. Whether or not you want to drop your speed to get better mileage is an argument with any car, not just the Insight.

I cruise back and forth between Atlanta and Greenville every weekend on I85 in the Insight and tend to get 55-60 mpg driving around the speed limit (65-75 mph with occasional jaunts up to 80 or so when I forget to pay attention). I got better mileage before I replaced the OEM tires, but those things were just plain scary in the rain, which just wasn't worth the extra 10 or so mpg to me.
 

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1. I'm not sure.

2. The electric motor doesn't need to enage for you to get good mileage at high speeds. The real purpose of the electric motor is to give you a boost when you need it. That way Honda was able to make the gas engine very small, which leads to excellent gas milage at highway speeds.

3. I'm no expert on battery technology, but I haven't seen anything like memory effect on my Insight batteries. Also, keep in mind that the Insight has a very advanced battery monitoring system. It keeps the charge between 25% and 75% at all times (or something close to that), and it cools the batteries also. Plus Honda just extended the warranty on the battery to 10 years/150,000 miles.

[mod note: The warranty extension is true for Canda but limited in the US. See:

US IMA warranty extension
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=4796

[end mod note]
 

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mileguy, I also just got rid of my Accord and replaced it with an Insight. I have to say that was the best decision I ever made. I am currently getting between 70-74 mpg (although sometimes that requires I dip down to 55 mph). Seeing as Minnesota is relatively free of stop and go traffic and really steep hills, your mileage will most likely be very good even if you do happen to speed a little.

As for cold weather, there are a few owners in Iowa that have them, and I understand the winters there are quite cold, too! The car should operate fine even in very cold weather. But if you're concerned about keeping mpg high, a block heater may be the way to go.

As for the battery, I don't know too much about them. I remember the debate about "memory" but something tells me that Honda made sure to charge and discharge the batteries a few times before letting the average consumer get behind the wheel (if memory was an issue).

The "electric motor" will only kick in if you need a little bit of a boost - going up a steep hill, accelerating quickly past that semi kicking dirt in your face, etc. :)
 

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The Insight has lots of floor space which is great for moving your legs around.

You will achieve your best mileage if you never have to use the electric motor and your batteries will last longer.

Memory effect was a term coined for Ni-cad, and lead acid batteries. The effect was caused by several chemical/mechanical functions of the batteries. These problems occurred when the batteries were overcharged or run flat. They had to do with dendrite growth, out-gassing, cell reversal, electrolytes turning to water, plates disintegrating, sulfating, solids building up in electrolytes, etc. The exact problem depended on the battery chemistry and the abuse they experienced. Nmh chemistry is very forgiving compared to other battery types. The battery management that Honda provides means that the batteries live in a very sheltered environment, which should give them exceptional durability. The climate and driving conditions that you are describing should be even easier on them than most.

The Insight is very aerodynamic which means that higher speeds have less of an effect on it than what is experienced by typical cars. Top speed is computer regulated to 113 MPH which is the maximum speed rating of the OEM tires.
 

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b1shmu63 said:
Top speed is computer regulated to 113 MPH which is the maximum speed rating of the OEM tires.
Interesting! I read on here the top speed was around there but didn't know it was because of the tires. Out of curiousity, if you changed to tires with a hgiher max speed is there a way to un-limit the speed? I don't need details, a yes or no answer is fine, I don't even have an Insight (yet), just wondering.
 

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it has been done. you have to fool the system into seeing a lower speed from the speed sensor.
 

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At 70 mph the electric assist will probably kick in on uphill grades.

Another thing to consider is the lack of cruise control. 30k miles without it might be unpleasant. I'm not sure of the status of the third party cruise control add-on...
 

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Just about anything is possible, but that doesn't make it a good idea. There are many reasons why one should not drive that fast in any car.Kinetic energy goes up as the square of speed so stopping distance and force on impact are dramatically increased, but you know that. ;)

My point was that due to the aerodynamics of the Insight, it doesn't become a giant air brake at higher speeds. (The EV1 was artificially limited in speed too or it would have been one of the fastest cars on the road.) From my perspective it is a crime that any car be allowed into production these days without serious attention to air flow. Besides, doesn't an Italian sports car look better than a delivery truck? :badgrin:

Good point about the cruise control. Rostra makes one that fits fine. Several people have them installed and there are dozens of topics here regarding this issue. Use the search function.
 

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Given the number of drivers that reported hitting the limiter, and some who took photos, I don't think you need either a tailwind or a slope to do it, just a good stretch of level road without speed traps.

Based on my own measurements for horsepower at 60 MPH* (around 11 HP) and calculations based on wind resistance, ( see: http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... r&start=15 ) 113 MPH would take 71 HP, 100 MPH would take roughly 50 HP and 80 MPH about 25 HP. Cruising at any reasonable speed should not stress the Insight.

* The front aerodynamic covers were off for this test and test conditions and equipment were basic, but if we assume 113 as the maximum theoretical speed of the Insight, the calculations yield similar horsepower requirements at these speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Minako,

Are you happy about making the change from the Accord to the Insight? I can see some pretty big differences just because of size. Were the trade offs worth it?
 

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I am very happy about the change from the Accord to the Insight. Even though I adore that generation's coupe bodystyle (98-02), it was just too big for what I needed it for - mainly, taking me back and forth to work.

For me, the trade offs were worth it. Sure, it doesn't have as much "punch" as the Accord, but the Insight accelerates at a decent speed. The seats are comfortable, visibility is good, and the OEM sound system is decent.

As I mentioned, visibility is good. In the Accord, I would sometimes have a problem seeing through the back when trying to merge into lanes. This is because the rear end is slightly raised, and I'm kind of short (5' tall). With the Insight, I don't have that problem.

The main difference is how far I can go on one tank of gas. I can now go almost twice as far on a tank that is seven gallons smaller than the Accord.

However if you're planning on hauling around a lot of stuff, the Insight might not be a good choice for you. It's the perfect size for one or two people and a weekend's worth of luggage (IMHO).

Hope this helps!
 

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i went from a 98 z28 convert with a LS1 v8 and a six speed to my
2000 red 5 speed insight.
the z28 is up for sale and i won't miss it LOL
insight does every thing i ask it to and at 1/3 the cost.
8)
 
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