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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading the http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=5380 (redline) thread. Except for the original post, it was a really interesting thread. How many people agree with me that Honda was monumentally stupid in not producing several different versions of this car? The Insight is a whole engineering branch of the Honda car line, a ton of money went into producing it and just getting one model from that was a waste. In particular there should be a sport version with a high redline engine and a 6-speed sequential gearbox, a city car, and a convertible.

If you try to drive a MT Insight fast the first thing you notice is that even if you redline in 1st gear you drop right out of the powerband on shifting into 2nd. I bet you could clip 1/2 sec from the 0-60 time just with different gearing, like pushing 2nd - 4th down to make 1-2 closer (and 4-5 further apart). Honda has been producing both 8,000rpm VTEC engines and motorcycle 6-speed gearboxes since before global warming. Their 1 liter bike engines have 12,000 rpm redlines and the original S2000 had a 9,000 rpm redline.

Yeah, a model like that would take a mileage hit. For instance, I agree with LoNox about valve springs. If you were engineering a low-frictional-loss engine the first thing you would do is lighten the valve springs which lowers the redline. So you lose a little mileage there if you raise the redline and in the changes to intake and exhaust porting for the higher flow. And an improved ratio gearbox would spend more time in relatively lower gears so you lose some mileage there too, and if you installed stickier tires. But you would still have a very, very frugal car that was "a gas" to drive not just to fill up. And that's an advertising slogan if ever I heard one.

And Honda should have made a city car with a slightly bigger battery and better regen programming for more start-stop boost and, maybe with rear wheel steering which would have produced a hilariously tight turning circle. HONDA, for pete's sake, pioneered supplemental rear-wheel steering in the Prelude 20 or 30 years ago. And BTW, if you move the 12V battery into the back in the space to the side of the underfloor hold, you free up so much space under the hood you could probably shorten the car 6 inches, also suitable for a city car. I realize now I'm talking different frame but I'm still making the point.

And while I'm on the subject... a convertible, or at least a targa, to emphasize the care-free fun aspect of an environmentally responsible car. Convertibles are a "drag" but a targa wouldn't necessarily be a mileage nightmare.

Why put all that engineering, manufacturing, and support into a one-hit wonder?

:oops: Feels good to do that venting :roll:
 

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Moses, well said!

Sadly with aluminum construction Honda could not make money on the Insight. Also Insight was too big a change too soon. The automotive press either missunderstood the car or feared it. Masses of false info was published before more than a handfull of people saw the Insight.

Presumably Honda has adressed issues they felt were important when designing a replacement for the Insight. I hope the new car is a big success, but I won't be trading my Insight for anything else soon.
 

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Hey Moses,
I would put in a good word at Honda for you if I could. I think you would be a creative member of the design team.
 

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I've had this reoccurring dream that I have been driving an "Insight Type-R".

The car is a regular Insight, but with the whole drivetrain moved to the rear for proper RWD. The 3 cylinder lean burn engine is still in use but the assist has been ramped up to 100KW. The car has a 6 speed transmission with a more even distribution of the first three gears, with the last two gears still being overdrive. An air suspension lets the car hug the ground in summer, and raise to get over snow in the winter.

Full EV mode is available because the IMA has been moved to the transmission with a small motor remaining on the flywheel to give start the gas engine and give it a little "kick" to match revs when shifting.

Too bad it's only a dream.
 

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Aaron, how about this.....Remove the existing IMA pack and substitute a Civic pack mounted vertically behind the seats. In the space created mount the large electric motor from a Prius. Attach it horizontally to a differential with CV joints to the rear wheels. Use an air lift system to supplement the rear suspension. An auxiliary up converter could be used to charge the Prius pack as it would only be used for extreme acceleration. This setup would give you 4WD acceleration and achieve close to your goal of 100KW. It would also achieve closer to 50:50 weight distribution. Forget hypermiling though. :D Naturally one would want to bump out the rear wheel covers to give more width for the rear suspension. ;)
 

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moses said:
The Insight is a whole engineering branch of the Honda car line, a ton of money went into producing it and just getting one model from that was a waste.
I disagree with your premise. The engineering was NOT wasted:

- the IMA battery and motor used in the Civic and Accord are near-identical to that used in the Insight. What Honda learned from the Insight has been applied to other, more successful models. Honda is collecting a profit off the IMA.

- the knowledge gained from the Insight's lean-burn was used in earlier models of the Civic HF/HX and later Civic Hybrid models... again, no engineering dollars were wasted. Honda's collecting a profit off the lean-burn tech.

- ditto many other features of insight such as auto-stop, hard low-resistance tires, dc/dc converters, and so on.


The only thing that was "wasted" was the body design, and that's a relatively small expense. Designing bodies is not a great loss. I don't consider Honda's Insight design any more a waste than VW's design of a 90mpg Lupo or a 250 mpg one-seater car. Companies gain knowledge from these cars, and they apply that knowledge to other models.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Troy: Of course you're right. By "wasted" I didn't mean so much totally wasted as not used as fully as possible. I guess I have a pretty low threshold for waste. I will suggest though that the body alone, the highly-engineered aluminum structure and tooling for the body panels, was, I'm sure, a pretty penny. But I think we're talking about questions of detail that we'll never resolve. Exactly how much it cost to develop the Insight and exactly how much hardware and software got recycled is knowledge for a pay grade way above mine.

AAron, LoNox, Kip: thanks for the positive comments. Insight-RS, I like that. You could just imagine the ads, a bunch of Insight-RS's in a race, constantly shooting by the pits instead of stopping for gas, the pit crews running out with filler cans then walking back shaking their heads wondering what's going on.

Sadly, Kip, I think you're right too, maybe more so than you had in mind. What if Honda never wanted to sell too many of these because of the money they were losing on it? Maybe it was always intended just as a limited production concept car. As for people understanding it, part of my thinking is that if there were different models in the line then more people would have an entrance point they understood. For instance the car guys could drive the sports model like it was a (slowish) sports car but at least the old ones could be comparing it to the original Mini, Porsche 924, or other slow, lightweight, tossable cars from the past. My feeling is that a variety of models might have encouraged a degree of acceptance that the "take it or leave it" attitude of one frugal-above-all-else car couldn't encourage.

John: Your post was snide and ad hominem. For your information I am employed as an engineer at a successful research laboratory where my advice is routinely followed, without yet bankrupting the lab. While I have never worked for Honda, I have worked for ABB, a large European company that supplies electronic components to, among others, the auto industry. Kindly moderate yourself.
 

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moses said:
John: Your post was snide and ad hominem. For your information I am employed as an engineer at a successful research laboratory where my advice is routinely followed, without yet bankrupting the lab. While I have never worked for Honda, I have worked for ABB, a large European company that supplies electronic components to, among others, the auto industry. Kindly moderate yourself.
As the only "dissenting" opinion in the thread I can understand my posts lack of acceptance. And while you post asked for agreement IC does not desire only positive or remove dissenting opinions when done with moderation.

As a dream you thoughts are nice. As a business reality we have the benefit of hindsight in this situation.

Agreed there were poor choices of words on my part that could look an ad hominem attack. None was intended. Maybe your "venting" skewed your interpretation to that easily interpreted possible version. To clarify what my true intent was I post the above again with a less confusing choice of words:

IMO given the resounding lack of acceptance of the Insight (sales volume, regardless of what the cause can be attributed to) there wouldn't even be a company we know as Honda should such passionate and pro Insight dreams be followed.

From strictly a business perspective and hindsight its sadly clear that the Insight was ahead of its time.

Please accept my apology for my lack of clarity.

Sincerely,
 

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moses said:
I will suggest though that the body alone, the highly-engineered aluminum structure and tooling for the body panels, was, I'm sure, a pretty penny.
The aluminum processing factory already existed... it didn't cost anything extra to add the Insight to the already existing line of cars produced by that factory. So as I said before, the insight body design was "a trivial cost"... did not eat that many engineering dollars.

You also said "just getting one model" which is inaccurate. Insight technology has been used in multiple models:

- Civic HF
- Civic HX
- Accord Hybrid
- Civic Hybrid
- and probably others that I'm not aware of (like an Acura? or Honda SUV?)

Overall, I think you posted your thoughts, but did not stop and analyze their accuracy (or lack thereof).

:)
 

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The stated design goal of the Insight team was to produce 5,000 vehicles a year. The stated design goal for the Insight replacement is to sell 1000,000 to 2000,000 vehicles a year. Since models change every 4 years at Honda, they anticipated selling 20,000 Insights. They actually sold 18,000 from 1999 to 2006. :D

Over 200 patents were applied for on Insight related technologies. Some of these ideas will be used outside the field of automobiles. Innovations such as multiple ignition coils and integrated manifold, are now used on the Civic line. Like physical exercise for the body, good engineering pays dividends in ways that are not always obvious or immediate.

I suspect that many of the engineers at Honda would like to work only on robots, jets, solar cells, and F1 car engines, but it is the revenue from more mundane equipment sales that brings in the money for salaries. Thus sadly the Insight line had to end. However, I'm guessing this will make the Insight highly sought after in future as it truly is a wonderful vehicle. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Troy:
1. Remarks by Kazuhiko Tsunoda, Chief Engineer of the Honda Insight

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am here today to talk about the second greatest challenge of my life – the development of the aluminum body structure of the Honda Insight gas-electric hybrid vehicle.
---from this encyclopedia. I don't think it's theoretically possible to find a statement or a source more authoritatively supportive of what I had to say, except, as I said, at a pay grade way above mine, like the CEO of Honda. Having aluminum and engineering a chassis as complex as this car's are two very much different things. Even engineering a generic steel unibody is very expensive, which is one of the reasons manufacturers typically squeeze as many models and versions as possible from a single line.

2. When I said 1 model I was referring to the Insight (and neglecting the CVT/manual distinction). Apparently we'll never agree about exactly how much the Insight has in common with the civic and accord hybrids, but they are built on different assembly lines (the Insight alongside the NSX) and there are VERY few parts in common. Can you think of one significant Insight component that you can buy from the Civic or Accord parts bin? Not the electric motor, battery pack, MCM, or BCM; not a single engine, transmission or driveline part, except for maybe some trivial control; hardly a single chassis part bigger than a light bulb. It doesn't even share the steering wheel, that comes from an S2000. My other car, a '93, evolved from a car first built in '81 and you CAN replace some parts for it with parts from the earlier car, because they share a lot of engineering and tooling.

3. I started my last post by agreeing with the thrust of your comment, which might have been a good time to stop. However, if you want to call the second biggest challenge of Tsunoda-san's life "trivial" and you want to tell Ferdinand Porsche how to evolve cars by not re-using any parts, that's your business. But this sentence:

Overall, I think you posted your thoughts, but did not stop and analyze their accuracy (or lack thereof).
is just embarrassing yourself.
 

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moses said:
Troy: 1. Remarks by Kazuhiko Tsunoda, Chief Engineer of the Honda Insight
He said nothing about the body's design being expensive. For all we know, he designed the whole body in less than a month (few hours=inexpensive).

Show us a different quote about cost.

And as for the other models, I didn't say they have interchangeable parts. I said they had *common engineering*. The Civic/Accords are basically insights, sharing the same battery/motor/lean-burn technology, albeit with progressive improvement. ----- Which means the insight engineering was Not "wasted"; it was used for other models; and thereby negates your original premise that only one model exists.

embarrassing yourself troy
Oh REAL-ly? Well, I'm designing the avionic electronics for a Transport Plane for the U.S. Air Force. Please do NOT talk down to me, because I am your equal (as are most of the people on this forum). I expect (and the rules say) you should routine the courtesy. NOT talk down to us as if we are idiots.

I was *extremely* polite in my previous message to you.

P.S.

The only change I wish honda had made with insight was to stretch the original body, and include a 4-seat version. Lack of 4 seats excludes the 99% of america that has kids & needs a backseat. 2-seat cars never have large sales.

:)
 

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Since the phrase ad hominem was used earlier in this thread I am hoping that any unfamiliar with the concept took the time to look it up for themselves.

However this "debate" has now gone to the next level of personal attacks and as such is rapidly approaching a collision with the rules.

By my read the points of contention are almost unknowable and of little significance. Seems like a good point to end this thread. :|

However, the point:

"It doesn't even share the steering wheel, that comes from an S2000."

is only a half truth. The only difference is that the S2000's wheel is factory stitched on leather. Try one on your Insight. You'll like it.

I have :!: ;) :D
 

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Insightful Trekker said:
The only difference is that the S2000's wheel is factory stitched on leather. Try one on your Insight. You'll like it. I have :!: ;) :D
COOL. Can I buy one off Ebay? How much is the cost?
 

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Interchangeability with other Honda models

Since the subject of interchanging major parts from the Insight with other Honda models has surfaced within this thread, I've done some research on http://www.car-part.com to find interchanging parts in the U.S-Canada market. Here's what I came up with:

1.)A/C Evaporator interchanges with the last-generation Acura Integra as well as the Honda CR-V model of the generation prior to the one being sold now.

2.)The driver-side airbag interchanges with the one from the S2000.

3.)The heater blower motor interchanges with many different Honda/Acura models from various years, including the Accord, Civic, Prelude, Integra, and CL.

4.)The after-market manufacturers of brake rotors (This isn't shown on car-part.com)show that there's interchangeability with the front rotors from various 84-91 Civic/CRX models.

That's all that I found. However, it's entirely possible that other Insight parts do interchange with some other Hondas sold in the Japanese Domestic Market, such as in the mini and micro classes.
 

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moses said:
I was reading the http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=5380 (redline) thread. Except for the original post, it was a really interesting thread. How many people agree with me that Honda was monumentally stupid in not producing several different versions of this car?
It seems like every enthusiust board out there has some kind of thread like this pop up whenever a particular car gets cancelled. I realize you love your car (as I do mine), but John is right here, for a car manufacturer, it's purely a question of economics, and there's no point in manufacturing a product noone wants. And by "noone wants", I specifically mean "not enough people are willing to pay for to make it worth your while."

You have to admit, the Insight has an extremely niche market. It does one thing *EXTREMELY* well at the the cost of practically anything else someone looks for in a car. It has no storage space, a fairly stripped interior, too expensive for an econobox, average handling (compared to other vehicles in it's price range that *specialize* in performance).

Personally, I think putting together an Insight SI or somesuch is a rediculous idea. Do you honestly think a "high performance" Insight will hold a candle to a Pontiac Solstice? a Acura RSX? a Toyota MR2 Spyder? I could go on, but there are several other 20-25k vehicles that are far cooler than an Insight *from the performance perspective*.

But yes, I agree it sucks that it was cancelled, but for me, it's a shame for other reasons. What the market has told Honda is that there is no room to develop a "economy at all costs" vehicle, and it should focus on products that have a broader appeal. We're already seeing the start of this by the removal of lean-burn and offering only a CVT as the only transmission option for all of Honda's current offerings.

The true shame in the cancelling of the Insight is that we aren't going to see another vehicle capable of hitting 100mpg fuel efficiency sustained for a LONG time, if at all.
 
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Infidel said:
moses said:
I was reading the http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=5380 (redline) thread. Except for the original post, it was a really interesting thread. How many people agree with me that Honda was monumentally stupid in not producing several different versions of this car?

The true shame in the cancelling of the Insight is that we aren't going to see another vehicle capable of hitting 100mpg fuel efficiency sustained for a LONG time, if at all.
That is until the Aptera makes an apperance, I have alreadt registered an interest to purchse one with Accelerated Composites. :D
 

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It’s a nice idea to think of what could have been. However Honda was still licking it’s wounds from the whole ZEV thing in Kalifornia. Ca required electric vehicles. Two companies complied then they changed the rules. There was no way to re-coup the R&D cost. I’m surprised that Honda took the risk for the Insight.

The effort was not totally wasted. The Insight was a halo vehicle and there are several things developed for the Insight that are applied to other vehicles. For example, the Civic has used the IMA system. The crash energy absorption system pioneered on the Insight has been incorporated in to the ACE body structure (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) and is being used to improve crash safety on other cars. The magnesium alloy developed for the oil pan has been used on other vehicles (mostly motorcycles).

One of the things that really prevents the Insight white body from being used for other applications is the fact that it was developed to be so light. If you subtract the weight of the IMA system (about 200lb) you are left with a 1675 lb car. There is no margin to throw in a fire breathing 180 hp engine, the chassis would not be able to handle that much power and deliver Honda’s level of reliability. To develop alternative parts to strengthen the white body would have required almost 2X the effort. And all this effort would have been for an unproven idea. All the time Honda knows that if they slap an Si or R type badge on a Civic it will be loved by customers and improve the image of the pedestrian Civics like mine
 
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