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Greetings, I have a 2005 Insight. Recently installed Rosta Cruise Control and Husco Arm rest. Real satisfied with both. The Toyota Prius sold in Japan has a switch on the dash, which allows you to switch off the ICE and run in electric mode only. This would probably be for level terrain and limited distance. The Prius sold in the US for whatever reason, does not have this option. “Coastal Electronic Technologies” sells after market parts for the Prius. They have duplicated this switch and say it is very easy to install on the Prius. Could one of the Insight Forum Members familiar with the Insight electric motor and its operation tell me if this would be possible to install a similar switch on the Honda Insight?
Jackson
 

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Insights never work electric-only. The IMA can accurately be called an electric assist - used only when you need more that about two-thirds the engine's power. That way, it's lighter than the Prius' version. Since all the energy ultimately comes from the gas tank, Honda decided to make a very light and efficient gas engine. The Toyota hybrid has it's advantages as well....
 

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I have run my 2001 CVT Insight on electric only mode once. I ran out of gas at an up hill intersection. The car was very slow and under powered, but it got me off the road into a parking lot.

So it would be pointless to set the Insight up as an electric only. Just doesn't have enough power this way to do much.
 

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The electic motor in an Insight develops only 12-13 Hp (10KW) and would probally only move the car less than 10MPH. I always thought that it would be neat to have the electric motor (50KW) of the 2nd generation Prius and the gas engine of an Insight in an Insight with a bigger battery pack and the ability to run in electic only mode only and the ability to plug it up at home to recharge at night. It would probally have a top speed of around 50 MPH if it was geared right.
 

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The difference is that the electric motor in the Honda system is simply bolted to the crankshaft - it essentially replaces the flywheel of a conventional car - while the Toyota system (to simplify) has separate gas and electric motors connected to a complicated transmission that handles apportioning power to the wheels.

If you did find a way to run the Honda electric-only, it would be very inefficient, since the electric motor would have to turn the gas engine too.

The real benefit of the Honda system - and the reason I wouldn't want a Prius even if it got better mpg - is that you still get to have a manual transmission.
 

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Why would you want to run electric only?

1. You could drive two or three miles in battery mode if you ran out of gas.

2. You could creep forward in a traffic jam without the engine turning off and on.

3. Your city mileage would go up. (see 2.)

4. you could convert the car to a plug in hybrid.

Why you would not want to run the Insight in electric only mode?

1. Increasing the size of the electric engine would add significant weight, affecting the handling and performance of the Insight.

2. The ICE would have to be smaller to achieve the proper torque, power, efficiency ratio.

3. The Insight would become more complex, read harder to repair and analyse, and more expensive.

4. Highway mileage would suffer due to the inherent lossy nature of an "electric" transmission.

5. Forget turbo charging, driver involvement, or a manual transmission.

The "mileage gains" of a plug in hybrid can be achieved as well by running the gas and electric engines concurrently as in the MIMA* project, without running them one at a time as is the advantage of the proposed plug in Prius design. With the current cost and longevity of batteries, both approaches would save gas and contribute to a cleaner environment, but neither plug in design would save money. Ultimately this will change but we aren't there yet.

Oh ya, carry a 2 ounce container of gas as a reserve. Should be good for a couple of miles. :wink:

*MIMA or Manually operated Integrated Motor Assist.
 

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For the people new to hybrids, Honda does them differently from the full hybrids of Toyota and Ford. Both types of hybrids have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately all the power comes from the gas tank.

I've offered this mod before, but since Honda hybrids can't run electric-only in slow bumper-to-bumper traffic, there is an alternative gas-saving solution. The engineers could have allowed the gas engine to drop to two or even one cylinder under such conditions. The IMA is acting as a flywheel, so it can prevent the enging from being sluggish. Again, all energy is from the gas tank, so this is a way to use the gas engine more efficiently.
 

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I don't see why running only 1 or 2 cylinders would increase economy, unless of course you have the added complexity of a clutch of some kind on the crankshaft.

If your fuel injectors are just supplying fuel to 1 cylinder, with the others still turning, you have the same amount of friction to overcome, and need to produce the same amount of power, so you burn the same amount of gas. What does it matter how many cylinders burn it?
 
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