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Discussion Starter #1
OK. I've been on here for a few months and have had great success with my new car. I've been averaging most tanks above 55 for quite some time and keep discovering small tricks and different portions of my route to really crank up the mpg. I want to get a PHEV but cannot afford one right now. Does anyone know 1. which PHEV kit is the best value/cost ration or 2. can I buy a used one or find a salvaged car with a PHEV to place into mine? Just trying to save some money to buy a PHEV without buying some off the wall cheap one.
 

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The really is only one PHEV option for Insights. Brand new it would be about $4,000.

I have not seen many used ones come up for sale.

I know of a used 4kwh system for sale right now for and would cost ~$2,000 with shipping. Although it is not currently set up for an Insight I'm sure it could be tweaked for your set up.

If you are interested, give me a call and we can talk about it. 608-729-4082.
 

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If you can supply batteries, 4 deep cycle batteries from wally world and 4 trickle chargers, that half the battle right there. Thats assuming you can plug in. For 300 bucks you got the batteries and charger covered and misc wires. For less than a thousand you can get the guts of the phev kit from Enginer.

I doubt you will see a salvage unit as thats the first thing people do in an accident. If I wreck my car thats the first thing I am grabbing and even if I do not go with another Insight, I can get a converter for a prius, Civic or an older Insight.

Even if not another hybrid, I would have a commercial grade lifepo4 battery power pack for a future ev or back up power supply.


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explanation...help

Okay sorry to be out of the loop on this but what is this you are talking about PHEV? I have seen this other places but thought it was just in the car?
 

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PHEV. Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

It makes it so that you can plug your car into the wall to charge up the battery.
In most cases you add additional batteries that you charge up.

Got 100 mpg with my PHEV system in a Gen1 today.
 

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Eric beat me to it. :D I think he sells the kits if I remember correctly?

With hybrids the additional charge makes the car more likely to use electric power vs gas to make it move. With this additional power you can abuse ev mode. Rather the car has a switch, a easter egg or a hack like mima. The prius 2 kit from Enginer includes the ev switch thats standard on prius cars shipped outside the US if I am not mistaken. :)


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Thanks

Now I remember talking about that, I will have to look into that for the next mod! I'll have to hook up the MIMA that is on its way in the mail first!!! I did try to plug in a cord to my gas tank but nothing filled up :rolleyes: go figure! So what is the talk about adding some deep cycle batteries for an additional help!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Its essentially just adding your own battery pack to the car. The deep cycle batteries are great for long lasting charge and multiple charges. They don't die after X amount of charges in comparrison with typical lead acid or LI batteries if I understand correctly. I'm still new to this and most of the PHEV systems are out of my reach. To get government rebates you need at least a 4KWh pack to be considered EV car stuff. And the 2KWh from enginer is really the only one close to my price range. So I'm looking at building my own, but I am not quite so good with this stuff yet. Trying to find someone in NC or the surrounding area thats within a few hours to drive, see how its set up and try and buy the components one at a time. Right now though its just tough with time and money. And maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I have read where gold cart batteries and trolling motor batteries from boats are great for DIY PHEV's.

Or perhaps buying a salvaged insight and taking the batteries and regenerative system and linking it in series with mine? Just playing with ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
More Questions

Ok. So I am able to now manage about 58 to 60 MPG each tank. Can't complain. Still working on building/buying a phev. But as a cheaper and quick fix, how much does an engine block warmer help. My car seems to warm up fast (about 1 to 2 miles from home depending on morning temp) but would a block heater help that much to instantly send it to hybrid mode? And how long do they really need to be plugged in to warm up the motor? I have already taken alot of little cheap steps to improve my mileage and it is working. But I'm just trying to make all the small adjustments first.
 

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I am unable to travel as my mother who I live with and help recently fell and broke her arm. You are more than welcome to come by and test drive my car. I am off 288 and Hull Street. Here is an address to google and or meet at.

Barnes Noble
4600 Commonwealth Center Parkway, Midlothian, va

Myself and a few others have tried the oem block heater which is rated at 400 watts and we could not measure any mpg improvements. I suspect either our trips were too long or the heater was too low. It takes a good 8 hours to bring the car close to operating temp. The most efficient use was 2 hours of plugging in for the amount of heat it provides.

I guess you could try an aftermarket one from Amazon that is rated at a thousand or 1500 watts by Katz.

Did you get a solar charger for your 12 volt battery? I have a 100 watt panels we might could trade as I think you said you had some with an internal inverter. I have a few 12 volt ones hooked to a grid tie inverter to supplement our electrical needs. Just need a charge controller. A harbor freight store is 7 miles down the road from me.

Better yet, if you can plug in get a battery trickle charger.

No luck on an extra battery pack or my grid charger/balancer. Maybe someone jacked it one day?

If you can ride ev mode and it just runs down too fast then you should easily hit 100 mpg with a phev kit.


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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I checked out the 1500 watt heaters. According the amazon it doesn't fit a 2010 insight. And even so if you say it doesn't work thats word enough to me not to buy it. I didn't know if it was worth it plus when mine is cold it throws it into regen mode so my battery gets topped right off the bat.

And I did get a 1.5 watt 12v solar panel for it with a 12v 30amp hour control arm. I know 30 amp hours is over board but I figured if it didn't work I could find something else to use it for. But it doesn't seem to do the trick, if you do the math on the amp hours i need to plug in my 62 watt panel and use it more like a sun block to keep my car cool while i'm at work. I just need to get a cord from amazon first.

What are you talking about with the battery trickle charger? you mean to simply plug in my 12V or the main pack?

But I really can't do a phev, as much as I dream about it a kid due in a bit, and my job may be shifting me to who knows where on recruiting duty (thanks USMC) I can't afford to pull anything to crazy now. But god knows my wife has told me to shut up about them more than once!
And Ebay has a 2010 OEM insight battery pack for 800...any way to make that a phev or link it into my current assist and regen system? and i have seen a few spots where the enginer kit is a little cheaper which is good. by the time i can afford it they'll be down a bit.
 

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Hmmm?

I guess I'm not following all of this so maybe this question is already answered, but...:confused: I have a charger in my boat that I'm not using at all which plugs into the wall and is able to charge to main boat batteries. Can I hook this up somehow to my insight to at least help charge over night? :cool:
 

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I wouldnt sweat it, 60mpg is not bad. If you are ever in the area you could test drive my car and see what gains a phev kit would give you, but even for me its a learning curve that takes a few months to master.

Granted solar charging is "green" its not necessary unless you cant plug in. Harbor Freight sells trickle chargers for 12 volt batteries for 6 bucks. Before I purchased my phev kit I just to precharge my 12 volt battery with one and it helped fuel economy.

There is a guy here with a HCH who has 70 watts of cells on his hood and roof and claims he can get 70 mpg with their use on the 12 volt side.

I have a small 1 watt panel on my suzuki as it will run down if not driven monthly and it helps. I want to add more myself and to both vehicles.

As to why I got my phev kit? I use to be an hourly and commission sales person. My commissions were held at 20%, so I always got a fat return from taxes. I was going to put 4 grand on a Fit turbo charger. I found out about Enginer and they offered a full refund after 90 days if I didnt like it and i went for it.

I think with more driving techniques you could do more. Maybe JimE will let me video him for youtube and this forum for more hypermile driving?

Ive been keeping up with traffic, using econ off and ac on high speed and still hitting 60 mpg tank.


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Opps, forgot about the parallel pack. The problem with this is that the worse thing you can do is let a battery sit unused. Next to that is to use one thats been sitting for more than afew weeks. It states in the manual to charge the pack before parking for 90 days at a time by reving the engine to 3 grand.

So, you need to get a grid chargers/balancer and do this to both packs so they are matched as best they can be. That alone is like 300 bucks in parts. Then you ned to parallel some of the connectors, sensors and setup a second cooling system.

You could use a hobby charger to cycle the sticks, but this could take a week or so. Plus a hobby charger is like 50-100 bucks.

My idea was to use a pack in parallel to the PHEV kit and the car with a set of diodes. This way I got some extra cushion or buffer so I can abuse ev mode more as well as assist before the original charge runs down faster than the phev kit can build it up.


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Found my grid charger, hobby charger and its power supply.

Any thoughts?

Ok, we would need 2 36 hour sessions to balance the pack you buy and the one in your car so they are about equal in charge of all 84 cells each. We would need to mount the second pack, parallel the electric connection, get the cooling blower and power it, then exhaust it. The IMA pack in our cars has 14 rows of 6 cell sticks of D cell batteries.

I am balancing my pack now, 12 mo hours to go. I do it to extend the life and the old timers say its good for the hondas ima systems.

I find I need a good thousand feet of coasting to charge the pack in 4th gear at or abouts 50 mph. Otherwise you wont take advantage of your existing if not extra capacity assuming the car does as is. Its original capacity is 6.5 amps in all, but the car uses a fraction of that and makes adjustments to it as it ages down to 10% of its original capacity or abouthalf an amp.

On the flip side 800 bucks, 5 days and a 200 dollar grid charger could be a hell of a lot of gas and thousands of miles.

If you already got the solar panels, I think its more economical to use them to charge the 12 volt if not the ima battery. I think your charge regulator maybe too big. Granted when it comes to solar you need to go big or go home, the electronics is another story.

Your converter you have may have a min voltage and amps for it to even work and it maybe doing nothing unless in direct brillant sun light. With my setup I choose the converter and panels for a good match to produce useful power even in low light conditions. My panels are rated at 17 volts, the 300 watt inverters are 10.4-26 volts. Then 3 100 watt panels per a inverter. This way from 6 am to 8 pm its producing power from dawn to dust as well as over cast days.

I havent done the 12 volt system yet, but did buy a 1 watt, 30 bucks weather proof one for my suzuki. I may see if the local harbor freight dealer will cut me a break if I use their cells, charge controller, etc on my car.


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Discussion Starter #16
Wow. Somehow you never cease to amaze me with some of the stuff you know. I have read your posts several times to try and understand it. I'll keep working on it. But until then, I have been experiencing some oddness with my IMA system. I think I've been over using my batteries so to speak and I know people have talked about balancing them. Should I? seems like I run out of power faster trying to use ev mode and even when I'm showing mostly full on my charge, it'll only show about 45 instant mpg and will force charge my battery. I mean my MID is still showing 60.8 but its slowly going down now because it won't seem to hold a charge. Is this when I need to put it in park and rev it up and hold it to balance? I've read something like that but unsure what to do. if not what balancer should I use to work best? I talked to Eric and Mike a while ago and from what I remember its super tough to solar charge the Gen II because it won't register to charge because its not turned on, leading to the computer not allowing it to charge? I talk to all you hybrid guys and try to learn, just a lot to take in for me. so I don't understand it all. I mean if its at all possible heck ya i'll be doing it! Either way I'll keep reading your others posts and try and figure it all out. And i'll just be satisfied with 57-60 mpg. I think the average in this town is about 10 so i'm going alright.
 

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The rev charging is recommended to do before you park your car for an extended amount of time. I believe the book states every 90 days.

Ive done it and a few others to improve performance in heavy traffic or spirited driving. You basically are charging the battery so you get more assist over the next few miles til the charge is used up.

With the warmer weather, use of the ac will shorten the ima battery usage as that takes from the ima charge as it powers the 12 volt side.

Hotter weather can cause the ima system to perform poorly or not at all. If either occur to the extreme you should see your charging indicator blink.

I cant say balancing the pack improves fuel economy, but it does help to eliminate that random IMA light when you are pushing the Enginer kit to its higher voltages.

If you are in the military and may end up parking your car for a year or so you should check into buying or making one before you start your car when you return to the states.

The former hybrid battery repair guy said parking your car for as short as a week started the clock ticking for damage to occur to your pack.

Others say its not parking your car, its the charge the ima system puts into the pack when you refire it once its been sitting.

FYI, disconnecting power steering gave me 2 mo mpg. :D Pull the DRL fuse to disable the DRLs netted like a .7 mpg increase.


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I am trying to catch up on all the discussion around PHEV. Do you have to have MIMA in order to get the advantages of a PHEV system?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I do not have a MIMA system to integrate to a PHEV let alone a PHEV. I wish I could get one but I jsut can't afford it.

But to update about the insight. I took a trip from NC to Frederick MD and the car was loaded down with all our stuff and I kept up with traffic while still trying to maintain a decent driving habit and was able to get just shy of 50 mpg. but from Frederick to Pittsburg with all the mountain roads I was able to only get 47. But along the way the computer system hated me. needing to put it to the floor to maintain let alone pick up speed drained the battery and recharged it rapidly on the decents. While it was doing this it would show I was fully charged yet couldn't use assist and the opposite, it would show i had no battery but wouldn't charge. It went crazy. It has calmed down now that I am out of the mountains but it seems like it its not back to normal yet. I didn't know that hybrids hated hills so much.

But I did have the chance to drive a 12 HCH as my father in law is now on board with my hybrid kick. Much smoother and more refined than the insight. Smoother acceleration without the struggle, not as jerky with the transmission, quieter, and it didn't jerk at all when shut off or starting back up from auto off. I wish I had had the money to buy one of these but I did get the best bang for the buck with the insight. but for now its just back to making the hybrid happy again in the flat coastal towns in NC.
 

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I live in WV which is full of hills and yes Hybrids and all cars hate hills. They are a killer on MPG no mattrer what your strategy is.
 
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