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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm new to the forum but not so new to the fuel economy game. I've become "Insight curious" and wanted to throw out an idea that I've been kicking around.

It's old news that anybody playing with the idea of getting an Insight might be a little intimidated by the thought of winding up with a dead IMA battery and the repair bill to match. It's even more of a concern now that the only way to get one is second-hand, and history and pack condition are virtually impossible to assess. But I'm wondering if it's realistic to think that a savvy driver can tip his or her odds in favor of keeping the IMA system healthy over the long run. My understanding is that repeated and aggressive discharge/recharge cycles are the thing that kills an IMA battery. I also understand that drivers of the 5MT Insight can kill IMA using a switch spliced into the clutch switch contacts, or presumably with MIMA. Now, let's say that one has a car with a healthy IMA system and attempts to keep it that way through careful driving and aggressive maintenance of pack SoC. I'm basically taking about driving without IMA unless assist is absolutely necessary. Is it likely that it would work? Perhaps more importantly, is it realistic to think that one could maintain this driving style without getting mowed down?
 

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I think you've outlined the concept quite clearly.

And it is my preferred driving style. But getting mowed down :?: If other drivers want to go that much over the speed limit then there's the fast lane to run in, that I stay out of. ;)

2 lane road you say :?: IMO the risk of driving too fast is greater. And should an accident happen insult will only be added to injury in that I may also assessed the "blame" (excess speed for the conditions).

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response.

I should add that driving below the limit isn't a problem for me...at least not anymore. Right now I drive a Accord Coupe (4 cyl, MT) and pull down fairly respectable numbers (34-42mpg depending on conditions) using simple high-efficiency techniques. Gentle accel, cruising as slow as I can get away with, driving with the load, driving without brakes, etc. etc. It took some getting used to, but the right lane is my new best friend. I only ask about getting "mowed down" because I have never driven an Insight, and don't have a feel for how much the electric motor contributes to driveability. It isn't a concern with the Accord since the engine easily makes 60hp more than I ever need. Then again it also doesn't have the $6k worth of electronics, so the only negative of getting deeper into the throttle is reduced FE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Follow-up question:

Would the driver of a CVT-equipped Insight face any additional challenges with respect to SoC management vs. driving a 5-speed Insight? Would it be any easier or more difficult to stay out of assist? I figure the CVT-equipped car has more control over its own systems but can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So the answer for a CVT Insight is basically "don't worry about it" whereas the 5-speed Insight is more prone to trouble. (I read something yesterday about using "S" mode on the CVT to unload IMA and load the ICE, so that's something.) I guess that's what I expected.

Too bad the CVT version can't run in lean-burn. That and the resulting FE compromise is about the only drawback I can see to it. Lord knows they are a thousand times easier to find.

Thanks putting up with my wandering mind!
 

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Well,

A 5spd shouldn't be more "prone" to IMA battery problems. But a CVT by its very nature _can_ transparently keep them happier. ;)

Environmental factors probably play a big part too (extremes of hot and cold). As will a heavy right foot (CVT or not). Basically the more you cycle _any_ rechargable battery the faster its "consumed". Even with the advanced battery management that hybrid cars provide.

And irregardless of all the above time marches on. And is also a significant factor. You say; "But with little use they should last the lifetime of the car." Well, anything can be made to last a lifetime, provided you don't live too long. :p

IMO probably the best advice for IMA longevity is to drive the car as it was intended by design. In the high MPG style.

HTH! :)
 

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battery

It's even more of a concern now that the only way to get one is second-hand, and history and pack condition are virtually impossible to assess.

Is this true? I thought Honda maintained parts for 7 years after a car is discontinued.
 

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I think you read the quote out of context Sherrisue. The Insight is no longer available new. The statement was not made in context to repair parts. In that context the time frame you state is "debatable".

Whether its 7, 10, or :?: . In many cases parts are still available from Honda for years beyond all the above. ;)

Right now all Insight parts are still avaiable from Honda. Although the IMA pack has _apparently_ never been offered as "new". Its "remanufactured". New batteries with various recycled other parts. The IMA battery pack case is one example.

And that's nothing new for Honda or various other manufacturers either. In the Honda realm alternators and automatic transmissions immediately come to mind for all their models.

HTH! :)
 

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To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence either way about driving style and IMA battery failure. Many heavy users do not have failed batteries (I am at 109K and not one recalabration) and many light users have lots of recals. Dont forget the memory effect that all Nickle based batteries are prone to.
Lets not spread rumors as though they are fact.
;)
 

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Mike Dabrowski 2000 said:
Lets not spread rumors as though they are fact. ;)
And I am in complete agreement. Read the above. Where supposition replaced fact I stated "IMO".

Yes, _absolutely_ there is much longevity added to the Insights IMA pack through the management computers (MCM (indirectly) / BCM (more directly)) so the cycling aspect of wear that is a fact of rechargable batteries can be a minimal "wear" factor in some climates and driving styles.

And given the technical difficulities of managing a 120 cell array there will be relatively small manufacturing differences in individual cells that will contribute to the IMA packs demise. An exceptionally long lived pack _may_ be simply by the luck of the draw.

The only "things" that can be done from behind the wheel are the common sense variety.

Mix in all the variables that driving on the highways and byways add and the only "fact" that can be stated is YMMV. ;) But that's only the lowest common denominator. If you "expand" the math to statistics and probabilities and extrapolate based on the _known_ wear factors you can statistically increase the "odds" that your particular IMA pack will live longer.

Can I prove my hypothysis :?: Only if I had the Insight fleet's data regarding the IMA pack failure norms. :| And Honda ain't sharing. :roll:

But IMO it can be reasonably inferred from the reported change in the IMA useage algorithms that Honda has calculated longer battery life will be achievable through an overall lower SoC (less "agressive" charging as reported by the members pre & post MCM & BCM update). Which for the same driving "style" equates to _less_ SoC "usage". And they've put their money on it :!: (the warranty extension) Yes other inferrences can also be drawn, but from behind the wheel they are out of the driver's control.

Now don't get me wrong. There is a point that more "agressive" IMA useage resulting in increased MPG will more than pay for itself. But the cost of gasoline must go up and or the price of NiMH cells must come down to increase the probability of an IMA pack failing on the sweet spot. And with all the variables involved such a price point can be debated almost ad infinitum too. :|

Do the math, make your choices, and have fun all at the same time is my motto. :D

Sincerely,
 

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Totally agree with you John. We do not have enough information to really know the answer.
I tend to read the reports of the "new" controll scheme that Honda has installed in the replacement MCM and BCM, to indicate that they have lowered the max charge point,(over charging protection) and have increased the assist, while making the system tighter as to range of SOC, but this is all based on reports by people with the new packs, I have no direct experience to base this on.
The Prius only allows a small drop in pack SOC before they begin to replace it, and they will even increase assist use when it gets too full. ( I got to drive a Prius for about 1000 miles last month). I think that the move away from manual transmisions with hybrids is to allow their software to have full control of battery management, another move to remove us from the control system. I also contend that with the right driver with full manual control, can do a better SOC management that the computers, while getting better MPG. The software has to be a generic solution, whereas the driver can tailor their use for both maximizing MPG while controlling the SOC more tightly. Another case of the car companies building cars to suit the least common denominator type of driver. ;)
 
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