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Of course is there was an electric only drive option then there would be a bigger drain on the battery to make the option of an overnight grid charge worthwhile.....
 

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That was my point. Gotta look at the whole picture....also, the solar panels would simply help with the charging. You would never actually try and rely on the panels to charge the IMA battery from a complete discharge.
 

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Macwarrior said:
... Gotta look at the whole picture....also, the solar panels would simply help with the charging. You would never actually try and rely on the panels to charge the IMA battery from a complete discharge.
My whole point is that you have to look at the whole picture. Here are some basic laws of physics for charging batteries:

1. The part of electricity that makes things work is called amperage. Using water systems as an analog, amperage is the water.

2. The part of electricity that makes it flow from a power source to a target is called voltage. Using water systems as an analog, voltage is water pressure. Water flows from a high pressure end of a hose to a low pressure end of a hose. Electricity flows from a high voltage end of a wire to a low voltage end of a wire.

In order to charge the 144 volt battery, you need a power source that can generate more than 144 volts. Each cell (the dark circle or rounded rectangle) in a typical solar panel usually generates 1.5 volts. You wire them in series on a panel to bring the voltage up to 17 volts or so (no load, and really bright, directly perpendicular sunlight) in order to charge 12 volt batteries. The batteries bring the 17 volts down. The panels bring the 11.x volts up. The electric system balances itself at some voltage between that of the batteries and the panels while amperage flows from the panels to the batteries.

If you want to charge 144 volt batteries, you need solar panels that can generate significantly higher than 144 volts. I'd suggest about 10 panels. That's ten full-sized panels, maybe a foot and a half wide and four feet long. Sizes vary some, but not THAT much. That means roughly 60 square feet of solar panel area. The Insight is not that big.

It is not that a small panel could charge it more slowly than a large panel. It's that you need a large collection of panels to charge it at all. You might be able to build a charging station to plug it into when you park it, but you don't want to haul that around with the Insight. It would seriously affect the aerodynamics in a negative way.

Then there's the cost... There are a lot of things that could be improved on the Insight before you get to alternative means of charging the battery.
 

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I agree with alot of the other suggestions (a cassette desk in this car is like an 8track in a civic) but let me throw in a few other ideas/suggestions.

1. Drop the power steering. Not needed, adds weight and cost.

2. Drop the 12V starter motor. Add a 12V -> 144V converter for external charging.

3. Change the gear ratios for the manual transmission. Leave 1 and 5th alone and space the rest a little more evenly. (better yet, 6 Speeds!!)

4. A powered (maybe solar-powered) cabin vent for the interior when parked outside
on hot sunny days.

5. Stainless steel exhaust system.

6. More color choices, Bring back Citrus Yellow Metallic

7. There is no number 7.

8. HID headlights, they use less electricty

9. An S model with wider, grippier tires, stiffer suspension and a more powerfull engine and motor.

It's always fun to daydream.
 
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