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I purchased my 2004 Insight CVT on July 20, 2004 (2 weeks ago as of this message date) in Atlanta, GA and drove it back to Boston, MA. I have read hundreds of posts in this system. I have tried all kinds of driving styles, etc. I love the car. However, I am confused. I have found I get the best MPG when I NEVER use ASSIST. If i climb hills slowly, pull out from stops slowly, I get great gas mileage (as shown on the segment display instant mileage meter). By the time the ASSIST kicks in, the instant MPG is right down the toilet already. It seems to not kick in fast enough. The gas engine has to get into trouble before the ASSIST helps. Also, when it does kick in, it kicks back out before I am finished accellerating (such as up an incline). The battery always stays fully charged.

With this, I am still getting 66MPG highway, and about 57 City (I inflated tire pressure to 42psi).

So, what is the real purpose of the electric engine? I have done several test trips (resetting FCD each time). When I drive using ASSIST, I get low 50's or even 40's. When I avoid it (as best I can), I get high 50's in city and 60's on highway.

I love great MPG no matter how it comes ... but I am confused over all the emphasis on HYBRID ELECTRIC. Honestly, I don't see how it adds much of anything significant to the car. It also seems a stretch to really call this a Hybrid (yes, technically it is, but practically, it does not seem so).

Don't mean to sound like I am complaining, but I guess I am disappointed. Clearly, the high MPG comes from incredible engineering on aeordynamics, alluminum alloys, remarkable gas-engine design, etc. Anything light enough could get 100 or 200 MPG without an electric ASSIST. Since ASSIST is rarely used, is it possible it costs more to carry around those batteries than it saves? Could you image what kind of mileage it would get if you put a Prius electic engine (all-electric at lower sppeds, and much more helpful at higher speeds) in an Insight? WOW! It seems to me the INSIGHT gets great mileage for non-electric reasons, and it appears "HYBRID TECHNOLOGY" is just flare.

Where's the beef?
 

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First, if it works better for your typical drive and conditions, then stick with it, and don't worry about what the driving and fuel efficiency tips state. We could go on and on about losses here, or there, or charging efficiency, but in the end each driver should do what seems to work best for them.

Personally, I like the assist.
 

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When I drive using ASSIST, I get low 50's or even 40's.............
I might be wrong here, but think about that!!!! The assist comes on mostly when you are accelerating, when you are accelerating your getting in the 40's or 50's. That is actually quite amazing, I have two other vehicles that display actual mpg, and when I'm accelerating in them I'm getting like 10 to 20 mpg, depending on how hard I push it. One vehicle has a V8 and the other a V6, but still....... I bet a Honda Civic gets at best 20 mpg when at full throttle.

Just some thoughts, I might be wrong (I have no idea what the mpg on a civic is)

Matt
 

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Congradulations on your good driving techniques. The best hyper milers use the least assist.

You could not put Toyota Synergy drive into an Insight without adding a lot of weight, and you would probably need to make it wider as well.

The IMA system helps the Insight get better mileage on the highway by allowing the use of a smaller engine. It helps mileage in the city by recyling braking energy that would otherwise be lost. It allows total engine shutdown while the car is stopped. It eliminates energy loss from counter rotating shafts by actively damping vibration. It eliminates energy loss at all speeds from the Alternator belt by eliminating the alternator.

If any car manufacturer can accomplish this without hybridization, great! Show me and prove it.

Incidentally, distributing some of the weight to the back as in hybrids contributes to better handling. :D
 

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DonWatson3558,

You must be atypical and disciplined to use the assist sparingly. I bet there are a lot more people that overuse the assist.

There are some that know better than I, but it seems that a healthy assist from a standstill to just shy of cruising speed is best.
 

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Let not your heart be troubled...

You are driving for maximum mileage, using many of the techniques drivers have used for generations to increase their vehicle's mileage and range. You could achieve increased mileage, in any vehicle, using your valid techniques.

The Insight... and any hybrid... maximizes real world driving mileage by including the IMA system. My Beloved (who first saw an Insight on the road and wanted one just for the looks of it, with no idea it was a hybrid) drives our Insight with absolutely no regard for mileage. She just gets in and drives. Of course, my anality not being in question here, I drive for maximum mileage (love the video game display). Between the two of us, we have a LMPG of 53.8. I have no doubt, were she and I more attentive to our driving style, we could have changed that figure by a significant factor.

Here's our reality: Honda had to make hybrids palatable for all driving styles, hence the IMA. If there had been a universe of buyers large enough to accommodate a small, low-volume, aluminum alloy, aerodynamic two-seater that would get world-class mileage without an IMA system, Honda (or someone) would have built it. But there wasn't, and there isn't. So Honda (wisely, IMHO) built something that the tentative and mostly ignorant driving public would accept in whatever numbers their accountants decided would make it worthwhile to pursue the IMA technology in this and other vehicles. The Insight and the Prius I were successful in at least building up interest and public comfort with the new technology, so that now we have Prius II, HCH, and upcoming Honda, Lexus, Ford and GMC hybrid vehicles for your buying and driving pleasure, with much more to come.

Is the technology just "flare?" No, for financial reasons, it had to be done that way. Someday, I imagine most ICE vehicles will have some sort of IMA instead of a power-robbing turbocharger or supercharger. Our Insights were the proof-of-concept, and for that, we should be proud of being early adopters (revel in your Insight-fulness!). All of us who bought $3000 Mac Pluses, $1000 CD players, $1500 DVD players, and $18000 HDTVs made it possible for you to go into a Best Buy today and pay $500, $25, $50, and $1200 for similar but vastly improved products today. Was I stoopid to pay that much for early adoption braging rights? Probably, but I was the first kid on the block to have all those toys, and I am happier for it. I'd do it again, and I'm still doing it, and will happily continue to do it. Plus, I love to see my accountant's grimaces at the end of my fiscal year... :lol:
 

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DonWatson3558 said:
I have found I get the best MPG when I NEVER use ASSIST.

Think of assist as just more power for the engine and not for the best mpg's. Remember it's just a 3 cylinder engine and electric assist helps get you that beef. As you already concluded, other factors are what really contribute to the best mpg.
 
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