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Hi guys, this is a wonderful forum filled with some very smart people. Here's my story:
Looking @ a 2000 insight 5 speed with 35,000 for $10,000.
After doing some research, I am concerned about the battery and recals. We are a family that sticks to toyota and honda, but this would be our first encounter with a hybrid vehicle, which is a bit intimidating. There's an array of possibilities that can go wrong w/ hybrids that are nonexistent in a regular vehicle. I have also read a good amount of horror stories about the battery crapping out and such.
How much is it to fully replace a battery, and is all the potential problems/expenses worth it? I'm looking for honest opinions from the owners about this. Mountain driving seemed to be a little bit of a problem, but I have no hills to climb. I want this car so I can drive back home from school (250 miles) and be economical, of course.
So, yes, I am new and concerned, but please don't slam me for being niave. Please help me make an informed descision about this car, and I will be forever in your debt. Sorry if this thread is in the wrong place, mods.
Help a college guy out? Thanks in advance. :lol:
 

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OK, First of all the battery and associated electronics are warrantied for 8 years or 80,000 miles, so you have 3 years and 45,000 miles left on the warranty. If you are "lucky" enough to have a battery failure during this time, then you end up with a brand new system that will most likely last another 8 years or more!

Second, the chances of the above happening are slim.

Third, There are options if the pack fails after warranty, such as putting in a second hand pack.

What causes a pack to fail? Stress, temperature, time, and mechanical shock are a few factors. One failure was a lady that used the Insight for daily mountain trips. Another case was a car that had been T'boned in an accident. A couple were cars from the deep south that had been backing in the sun extensively. Any or all of the previous may have been caused but random act of fate, that is "manufacturing defect"

It has been suggested that these cells should be able to be charged and discharged 100,000 times given the tight controls on temperature, charge rate, and depth of discharge. It is therefore not a foregone conclusion that they will fail at the end of the warranty. The same is true of any warrantied electronic device. (Nothing else in the car is warrantied for 8 years!)

Hey, nothing in life is a sure thing and it is smart to ask these questions before making your mind up. Consider though that you are getting the car for half price, with about half the battery warranty. During the time you own the Insight you will save a significant amout of money on gas. Let us suppose that you save enough to exactly pay for the pack. It sounds like you will just be breaking even on this, but wait! When the pack is replaced it likely will last more than 80,000 more miles, perhaps 200,000 or more additional miles.

Another factor to consider is that the cost of maintaining an Insight may be lower due to its having fewer wear items than a normal vehicle. The Insight does not have an alternator and belt, spark plug cables and distributor, hydraulic steering pump and fluid. Its brakes get less use. Its starter motor gets little or no use. Its exhaust system is stainless steel! Its body is aluminum! The timing belt has been replaced by a timing chain. Many of the preceeding are prone to failure or require periodic maintenance on a regular car. It will take a decade or so before the final tally is in, but my feeling is that the Insight will be a reasonable car to maintain when all factors are considered. Furthermore its resale value may appreciate if gas prices continue to rise.

I'm betting on it! :D

Don't fixate so much on the battery that you ingnore everything else. Check the car out thoroughly just as you would any other car.
 

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Opinions on Purchase of Insight

el :) ; Hope these comments help you or at least give you some things to consider.

Hybrids/Insights are kinda slow vehicles compared to Non-Hybrids.

Gas.FE on Insights varies according to how the owner drives them.

I suggest that you drive one in town and then out on the interstate at whatever speed you normally drive at and see what you think of the Insight regardless of the opinions of others, especially Insight owners.

I now own a 2005 Honda Civic EX SE Sedan with Auto Trans. and it gets somewhere around 26.5 to 31.5 MPG in the city and it has gotten as high as 44.6 MPG at 65 MPH on the interstate. It varies from 35.9 to 44.6 MPG according to speed driven, Exam. 80MPH with A/C 35.9 MPG, 65MPH and A/C used on and off 44.6 MPG. I am given you this info. as a exam. of mileage on a regular Honda versus the Insight. I drove a 2005 New Insight for 3 or 4 days and it as I remember got in the low 40's in town driving with A/C on set at 77 deg. On the interstate at 65 to 70 MPH it got high 50's to low 60's with A/C on and set at 77 Deg. This was a brand new 5-Speed Manual Trans. Insight with only delivery miles on it when I drove it for the test.

The call is yours to make and I hope that this info. will help or at least give you some more info. to assist you in your decision.

Regards;
Terry :)
 

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My 1990 CRX SI could get 40 miles to the US gallon before I bought the Insight, and it could hit 60 in just over 8 seconds. Tiger is right about the fuel mileage depending on who is driving the Insight. This is probably more true of the Insight than any other car. That said there is no other car out there that can get zero to sixty in just over ten seconds and yet can achieve over a hundred miles to the gallon if babied. :shock: The Diesel Smart car comes close for mileage, but has a top speed of 80 miles per hour and takes about 20 seconds to reach sixty. God knows why people are buying them, but they are! There I go, spouting off like an old man, and I used to drive a motorcycle! :shock: Yup, I can remember wiping out on the ice in the winter and getting so cold I couldn't unbend my knees, so by all means buy a Smart car. :roll:
 

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The Insight is an inexpensive vehicle to operate that's for sure, especially with these high gas prices. However, if the total cost of ownership is your primary concern, then consider getting a used Honda Civic HX. It's cheaper than the Insight, and still gets pretty good gas mileage. However, the Insight is much more attention grabbing. Personally, I would recommend the Insight.

I owned an Insight a few years ago, and I sold it because my wife didn't feel comfortable in such a small car. However, now she has an SUV to drive, so guess what? I purchased another Insight. I just love this car!
 

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B1shmu63,

I beg to differ with a couple of your points. I don't want to scare el away, but your post sounded a little like it was looking through rose-colored shades...

b1shmu63 said:
What causes a pack to fail? Stress, temperature, time, and mechanical shock are a few factors. One failure was a lady that used the Insight for daily mountain trips. Another case was a car that had been T'boned in an accident. A couple were cars from the deep south that had been backing in the sun extensively. Any or all of the previous may have been caused but random act of fate, that is "manufacturing defect"
You might want to mention that "normal wear" is the major factor in battery degradation. Rechargable batteries are complex chemical systems that have a finite lifetime by definition. They wear with time, normal use (not just abuse) and will eventually fail.

b1shmu63 said:
It has been suggested that these cells should be able to be charged and discharged 100,000 times
I'd like to know who "suggested" this nonsense! This number is totally ridiculous and dangerously misleading!

In controlled lab environments the best I have ever read about NiMH cycle life in single-cell tests is in the 1000 to 2000 range. Panasonic claims only 500 for it's NiMH cells. In a massively-serial pack (120 cells) this goes down to a few 100. Under the very poorly controlled real-life conditions in an Insight, 300 cycles would be a small miracle!

But then again, it's kinda hard to say how many complete charge-discharge cycles happen in a hybrid. Most of the time the batteries don't get discharged much at all. So you can't estimate real-life life expectancy from theoretical values for cycle life. Until recalibrations start, that is.


el,
don't get me wrong. I love the Insight and if mine got hit by a hummer I would buy a new one as soon as the dust settles! I just don't want to be in denial about the compromize I'm willing to make.
 

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Re: Opinions on Purchase of Insight

tiger said:
Hybrids/Insights are kinda slow vehicles compared to Non-Hybrids.
I beg to differ! My 2001 CVT certainly isn't slow compared to a non-Hybrid vehicle. I notice no difference compared to a 4 cylinder vehicle in acceleration. In fact many of my friends were surprised and have commented on how fast my Insight is. So if an Insight is slow it's because the driver is trying to get the best possible gas mileage, not because the car doesn't have any pep.
 

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I wonder if you're being a bit pessimistic about the number of charge-discharge cycles that the battery can withstand. The battery is limited to operate between 20% and 80% of charge, so what looks like a cycle to the operator is really not a complete cycle from the battery's viewpoint.

I'm not sure what happens on a recalibration, though...
 

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Armin, I'll try to get a link or reference to the 100,000 figure. I recall at the time thinking it was astonishing. In the mean time let's assume I was dreaming. :D The cycle I refered to was charging and discharging from the 20 percent to 80 percent range. The fact that Honda claims the new Civic batteries are more mechanically rugged would seem to indicate that they had some mechanical problems with our cells. Valence has some nice graphs showing how time and elevated temperatures decrease the life of their batteries. My own experience indicates that electrolyte loss is still a major problem. This occurs whether the battery is used or not.

As for real world longevity..........that is what we the early adopters are establishing. Has anyone out there heard of a Prius pack failing? Just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for your honest advice. I look forward to how these debates settle, but I certainly appreciate different viewpoints.
*Anxiously reading* :D :D :D
 

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b1shmu63 said:
As for real world longevity..........that is what we the early adopters are establishing. Has anyone out there heard of a Prius pack failing? Just curious.
I sometimes go lurk on some of the Prius forums to see what's going on with them. I gotta say it's rare you see anyone in need of a replacment pack, though I guess I can't say it's any rarer than here because I don't go there often enough. One I recall reading about was a 01 I believe that was approaching a quarter million miles at the time. He ended up getting a used one for about $850 and then got $200 back from Toyota's bounty they pay for you returning the old one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Has anyone had to replace the battery completely in their insight? How much is the battery itself, $1k? That would be a great help to me.
 

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Greetings b1shmu63,
The pep that my CRX had is something that I miss. I would have considered the smart car if it were available in the US. The car would suit my needs almost as well as an Insight and fit in to even smaller parking spaces. That said I am happy to have gotten an Insight. It moves quickly when it has to, and gets better milage than the smart. You can get the Smart here but its going to cost as much as an Insight, and if that is the case I want those extra Mpgs:)

b1shmu63 said:
My 1990 CRX SI could get 40 miles to the US gallon before I bought the Insight, and it could hit 60 in just over 8 seconds. . : The Diesel Smart car comes close for mileage, but has a top speed of 80 miles per hour and takes about 20 seconds to reach sixty. God knows why people are buying them, but they are! ! :shock:
 

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$$ to replace

El, the cost for mine was a deal, $1,600 for a complete IMA system, the whole ball of wax that you see when you take off the lid. From a '04 'donor car' out in WI. My IMA battery pack failed on the first day I had mine, but surpriseingly, the used car dealer stood beind it and fixed the problem :!: The car now runs better than ever and has a MPG boost as well :D
 

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El, there's been a hand full of people reporting here they've had to replace their IMA packs. But in all fairness many of them aren't long time members, it's a lot of "Hi, I'm new my pack needs replaced, what should I do". So if such an event drives someone here to seek help how many others are out there that are not aware of Insightcentral at all? So in short having to repalce the pack is always a looming possibility, but it's probably a lot rarer than we think it may be. Really it's incredible how long the get them to last. And replacement cost for a pack from a totaled car seems to be around $1,000 where as if you took it to a dealership they'd want something to the tune of nearly $5,000+ for it.
 
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