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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A follow up as promised. Today I arrived back in NZ from a business trip to the US and only now had the chance to properly look at the new Honda Insight battery pack.

I am no expert on these things so I welcome your comments and corrections any any statements I make here.

The pack was picked up at the official Honda parts warehouse in Auckland New Zealand and I paid $800 NZD for it which is roughly $590 USD

Attached is an image of the box that the pack came in. It measures 22 x 23 x 11.5 inch. The next image shows you the content. A brand spanking new, scratch free battery pack filled with brand new looking cells. No signs of wear on bolts, wires. Everything looks unused and not refurbished.

So, ok it IS an Insight Pack, from Honda and it did NOT fall off the back of a truck as it came with a proper invoice. However, the pack did come with absolutely no warranty what so ever.

As a second hand story I hear from my wife it had something to do with clearing shelves at their Japanese warehouse. Apparently these packs need to be maintained while on the shelf. More about that later.

A closer look at the stickers on the box reveals the part number. I included an image as maybe someone might derive information from it that was unknown.

What is of interest to me is the manufacturer label. I always thought the cells came from Panasonic? However a quick google search on primeearth ev energy co resulted in this link which is interesting because it shows the development history which includes the Honda Insight cells. Company Philosophy | Primearth EV Energy Co., Ltd.
However, further searching showed that that company was renamed in 2010 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primearth_EV_Energy_Co So, given that the sticker on the box is from PrimeEarth and the fact that the pack really is brand new. Does this mean they started making those Insight cells again? I can not find a hit of a production date anywhere. The only thing I can find is the text "Original Refresh required date: 20 March 2011 on the maintenance sticker attached. The box and content look factory new and most certainly not dated after years of shelf storage.


I was led to believe that there are no new cells, yet I am looking at a pack loaded with new cells at a fraction of the price.

Back to the maintenance. There was a sticker on the box showing that the pack needed to be refreshed on 20 March 2011. The stamp suggest they have already done this at their warehouse. No idea what refresh means. Is that a grid charge?

But the plot thickens. When my wife picked up the pack at Honda they had their own green Insight on display. A manual transmission which they claim is one of the first ones ever build. I understand Honda didn't start making automatic transmission versions till 2001. Yet, my car has an automatic transmission and was registered in 1999.

The CEO from Honda NZ came out to meet my wife when she claimed we had one just like it from 1999 with automatic transmission. He claimed that it was impossible so it is going to be fun to pay a visit to the CEO once the new pack is installed.

So, that leads to the installation. I already received the tip to grid charge the pack before I use it. I will give that a go and closely monitor the grid chargers temperature while doing it.

So, about installation. I suppose I just go ahead and remove the pack from the car and put this on in place. Any suggestions regarding this job are most welcome. Especially the order in which you suggest I do things. I removed the pack (Including the stuff on top of the pack) a few times when I send out the pack for re-balancing so I am OK with that part.

So, again, if anyone can shed any light on this mysterious part, car and price of the pack I'd be most interested.
 

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Your new pack

That is certainly the right piece of kit.


Primearth, formerly Panasonic, from the Company website.

The label first refresh date of 20th March 2011 is stamped, so perhaps it has been charged before shipping to you.

In some of the pdfs for dealer workshop staff from IC, I seem to recall that cars were shipped with pack charged to a certain level and fuses pulled, Dealer inspection at sale to customer had to refit fuses etc. I wonder if your pack was full or part charged?

I was joking about the falling off a lorry, no offence intended, it is an English expression for something too good to be true!.

You have bagged a bargain, even without a warranty, though you may have consumer protection laws on your side if there are problems!

If Honda UK would sell me a new pack at that price. I'll have have a dozen
 

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UK Pack price

Phoned Honda.

Honda pack 1D010-PHM-003.

Price £2838-60p inclusive of tax (20%), Availability 48hours, shipped from distribution centre in Belgium.

Arbitrage, when a good is subject to market price variations, and the variation is significant, the good is purchased in the low price market and resold in the high price market.

How much to ship a 35kg carton NZ to UK?
 

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I see a business opportunity there!! I bet carriage would only be a couple of hundred dollars. Malcolm you can be the guinea pig :) I'll have a new pack while your at it though. In fact we could get a pallet of them via sea frieght anyone else?
 

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Pack again

800NZ$ is £370.

Twenty sticks at £370/20 is £18 each, each stick contains 6 cells so that is £3 per cell.

Panasonic/Primearth, can they really make all those parts and stick them in box for that price per unit?

I think someone in Honda NZ/ Japan has made a big mistake in compiling the price lists for the home turf and it is undiscovered.

Still not to reason why, might be a good excuseto visit the NZ born descendents of my English ancestors who left Norwich City England for windy Wellington in the 1900s
 

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Discussion Starter #7
New pack is installed

Today I installed my new battery pack. I removed the entire contraption including fan and electronics on top from the car after which I systematically undid all the fasteners and bolts.

The scary ones are the 4 bolts that screw into the batteries. After measuring the voltage between ground and any of the bolts I discovered the highest voltage was 60 volts so I took the precaution to stand on a rubber mat, wrap the ratchet with isolation tape and wear gloves. I know it is overkill but you can't be too careful with high power DC.

The replacement of the pack was a breeze although the entire job still took about 4 hours as I wanted to make 100% sure I didn't stuff up anywhere.

Once mounted I flicked the main switch on the pack back to ON and turned the ignition on. The IMA light went out and the car started smoothly from the pack. Very soon after the charging process started which initially was slow but after 15 minutes it suddenly sped up and reached full bars.

The short test-drive was amazing. This thing is nippy when a good healthy pack! Lots of assist and regen. Much more than I ever had before. Just had lunch so it is time now for a proper test drive.

Very happy this all worked out. After all for that price there could be so many things wrong. I suppose this may still be the case. Time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, after a few weeks driving I can say that the new pack is behaving very well. Initially the SOC remained close to 100% for a few days. After that the SOC settled around the 50% mark on average.

I have seen no recals at all.

I wonder though if the SOC of 50% is normal because sometimes when I really try to hypermile I find the SOC drops to a level where a 3 bar charge cycle starts.

Just wish I could find the logic to the SOC behavior.
 

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Pack

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I wonder though if the SOC of 50% is normal because sometimes when I really try to hypermile I find the SOC drops to a level where a 3 bar charge cycle starts.

Just wish I could find the logic to the SOC behavior.

I think that is why Mike D developed Mima, you could try topping up the pack with a grid charger before the hypermile trip, you travel further before the pack force charges at 3 bars
 
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