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Discussion Starter #1
Decided to take the plunge and buy an Insight before it possibly goes out of production. I have been watching this forum for several months and was concerned about the purchase process. I went to the local dealer in the Florida Keys, Largo Honda, and told them what I wanted. Within a couple of hours, the dealer had located a new 5 speed in another city, but was not the color I wanted. He suggested that I order one from the factory to get the color I wanted---plus it would be "fresh", not sitting on a dealers lot. I agreed and on April 6th, placed the order. I told him I needed the car by June 5th. The next day, he gave me a vin# and told me the car was shipping from Japan within a week. To my amazement, the car arrived in the Keys on May 1st! The service from this dealer was excellent and one of the smoothest transactions I have ever had when purchasing a car. No negotiation on the price as it was offered below sticker before I even asked. This car will be used for a couple of years and then converted to an EV. That is my real passion and the Insight is the best option for conversion because of it's low weight and drag. I owned two Prius' prior to this car and also own a Rav4 EV, Two Chevrolet S10E's and a Grumman "kurbwatt" electric ex postal vehicle. The future for this Insight is electric! I have enjoyed the information I have received from this informative site (sight?) and have benefited from the knowledge gained from it. I hope I can contribute as I tear into this car.
 

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Welcome to the forum and congradulations on your purchase.

I'm assuming you want to make the worlds longest range electric vehicle. ;) You can be sure that there will be a market for any of the engine and IMA components that you take out. It does seem a shame that you don't get one with a blown engine or transmission for cheap and save the new one for the future. In any case, judging by the list of vehicles you have had and still have, you certainly know what you are getting into. I'm sure that info you collect will ulimately become useful for future Plug-Insights. If you could figure out a way to get the electric drive to the rear wheels you could leave the ICE intact and have the ULTIMATE vehicle. I'm not certain that is technically achieveable by an individual, but that would be my dream car. :D 80 MPG highway, 1,000,000 MPG city. :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am really not interested in making the longest range electric vehicle--but that's a thought. The Insight is limited by how much weight you can put on the chassis and where the weight distribution will be. Therefore you are somewhat limited in battery mass. If you carry a huge battery around but don't use it's full capacity, then you are just lugging around a bunch of dead weight. My current thought is to go with a 21 KWH capacity battery that weighs around 450 pounds. Removing the entire drive train (engine, IMA, transmission and the existing battery, inverter and control system) and installing a S10e motor and inverter should hold the weight in check. At low cruising speeds (45 mph) the Insight should use about 1 KW for every 9 miles traveled--so the range should be reasonable. For those who remember the GM EV-1, the S10e used the same motor, gearbox and inverter as the EV-1. The horsepower was limited in the S10 to 85 down from the 137 available in the EV-1. The horsepower limit can be removed so that full power will be obtainable. I might make a stop along the way and remove the existing inverter and control system and install the battery and a small inverter to directly power the IMA. It would be an interesting test of the plug in concept. You could adjust the amount of assist that the motor could supply to suit the distance to recharge. For example, if you set the motor to provide 5KW at all times, (about 7 horsepower) you could drive for 4 hours before discharging the battery pack. Should be a fun experiment. By the way, I am not the one with the charging station listed. My charger is in my garage but could be used if anyone needed it. It is a GenII LPI so it kind of limits the vehicles that can use it. The Kurbwatt is a conventional 84 volt conductive charger. The Rav4 is in Michigan along with it's SPI charger. I believe that the charger you are refering to belongs to Charles Whelan, who has a pair of Rav4 EV's in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
 

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Eeeek, don't sacrafice a S-10E. Actually though it seems like it would be way WAY too much work to put that drivetrain in another vehicle. I've talked with some people who know the S-10 and they said everything, and I mean everything in that truck is integrated in to the other systems that you'd have to transplant everything down to the ABS system in order to make all the black boxes happy.

Admittedly though it would be cool to pop the hood and see the big GM box. I actually have one of the controller box lids off of a GEN 2 EV1 sitting within reach of me right now.

The Insight that is on EVAlbum has a nice looking Siemens setup. I emailed the owner some, he still has a small pack of Hawker batteries in it, but it does as well as 180 watt hours/mile (from the wall). He did the same thing you are proposing, have a not huge pack but a super efficient car and still get a decent range out of it. The Insight deffinitely can't be made in to a lead sled safely, but it would also make an excellent platform for advanced batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Don't worry---I am not about to sacrifice an S10e. I have a spare, new in the box, drive motor and transaxle for the S10 along with the power electronics box. You are correct about interfacing the inverter with the rest of the vehicle and will most likely using a MES-DEA inverter in the conversion. (unless I win the Lottery and will then use the AC Propulsion AC-150 drive system inverter) I am aware of the Insight with the Seimens drive. However, Seimens will not sell their inverter without the drive motor as a package and I also want to eliminate the Honda transmission. The MES inverter has a "learning" mode that will adapt it to the GM motor. AC Propulsion says their inverter and reductive charger will also work with the GM motor. The key is the S10/EV-1 drive motor and transaxle was one of the best pieces ever made for an EV and that is what is going in the Insight. I has the correct gear ratios, very light weight, plenty of horsepower and eliminates the Honda transmission. On this forum, I would think more people would be concerned about a new Insight--not the S10e-- being"sacrificed" for this conversion. The reason is simple---the conversion will cost more than the Insight itself. The difference in price between a new and a late model Insight doesn't justify worrying about the condition of the remaining vehicle systems that will be retained after the conversion. The value of the newer, low milage parts pulled from this vehicle and sold will nearly offset the purchase cost difference. I plan to keep this vehicle for many years after the conversion so I want to start with a clean vehicle with a known history. In the meantime, I am enjoying driving the new Insight and learning all I can about it. As I said before, this forum has been a real benefit to me. When I get started on this I will start a thread in the Modifications section of this forum--should be fun.
 

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Well as you can tell I'm an EV nut. I wouldn't consider converting an Insight a sacrafice, and hey, they're still in production, they only made something like 300 some S-10E's. A sacrafice would be sending a working vehicle to the crusher (which I saw at the Mesa proving grounds, but that's another topic I won't get too bent out of shape over here). I'll agree with you on the GM drive motor, small, elegant and powerful. I've seen one up close, they are lost styrofoam cast, not a cheap way to do it necessarily. My Saturn conversion is a DC conversion, I thought you had to have a paired AC motor and controller, but if you can make one work with it all the better.

Last year AC Propulsions Tom Gage actually brought their TZero here for this "Sun Festival" thing they did and I got to see it up close. Nice piece of work. He drove it from LA to Yuma, stopped for about an hour at a RV park and charged then drove it the rest of the way here. He found an RV park here and charged for about another hour and was set for the return trip. Really impressive, I had to hold my lower jaw shut so I couldn't druel on anything :lol:

Too bad your all the way on the other side of the country, I'd help you do the conversion.
 
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