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Will a consumer friendly lithium option EVER be available?

  • Definitely

    Votes: 12 21.4%
  • Probably

    Votes: 10 17.9%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 20 35.7%
  • Never

    Votes: 14 25.0%

  • Total voters
    56
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Lithium comes up in the discussion so very often, and I recently received a phone call from a respected member on the subject (among other topics). That led me to make this post...

CONSUMER friendly means:

1) No technical expertise required beyond that necessary to install a NiMH pack.
2) Relatively simple "plug and play" type of installation that's mostly "drop-in".
3) No need for special monitoring or preventative maintenance, i.e., one drives it until the IMA light or some equivalent signal indicates a problem.
4) it will be as safe as the NiMH packs.

While many have much expertise (I am NOT in that group), I think mudder is in the lead. Mudder is also busy and will never finish Linsight. Linsight probably doesn't actually meet the above three requirements because it will likely fail #2, but once installed it would meet #3 and likely #4.

No offense meant to Peter, IamIan or anyone else I should mention.

My answer is NEVER. This will NEVER happen. Period. Okay... maybe not never, but until some generous, independently wealthy, Honda Insight Preservation Society Enthusiast #1 is willing to personally toss tens of thousands of dollars down the drain to develop a viable product for a niche market, it's not going to happen.

I would LOVE for it to happen. I would LOVE to try to be the guy to do it, but I'm not up for the task on the technical, organizational (I have SO many unfinished projects) and financial levels... and probably any other category one can think of... :)

I'm not trying to be a d1ck. I know some of you can't believe that, but I just want to put it out there. :)
 

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Well, someone is developing an ecu now. How would that be impossible to believe? People do retrofits all the time. Someone with knowledge could put something together. Would it be necessarily a cheap option? I can’t see this any other way. Wasting 1300 plus dollars every three years to replace batteries would become a reason to eventually just swap out for a combustion engine or run IMA-less.


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Discussion Starter #3
Well, someone is developing an ecu now. How would that be impossible to believe? People do retrofits all the time. Someone with knowledge could put something together. Would it be necessarily a cheap option? I can’t see this any other way. Wasting 1300 plus dollars every three years to replace batteries would become a reason to eventually just swap out for a combustion engine or run IMA-less.

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I didn't mention cost at all. I don't care about cost.

"someone with knowledge" - pretty sure I mentioned the top 3 according to my feeble memory. Do you have any special someone in mind, or are you banking on hope?

This isn't about choices NiMH vs. ICE only vs. Lithium. It's about predicting the future.

Did you vote?
 

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I’m not disagreeing with you, just holding out hope for the challenging part to be made a little easier, I’m pretty sure I haven’t done this yet because I’m overwhelmed at the thought of starting it with all of the other more pressing projects but I think that there will be a member who will eventually offer a drop in solution for those who are apprehensive like myself to attempt. Yes, the one part and the unknowns have kept me at bay for the moment because my battery is still good, knock on wood. The moment it isn’t will be the moment I take this on.


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So, yes, I’d like to vote yes, but no is my realistic answer. Still waiting on the hopes and dreams part to come to life. The LTO posts I have been following and l have no idea about electrical engineering but when the time comes I’d be willing to tackle that. Unless Bumblebee or some other company puts something together it will never be something easy to do. An individual, on second thought, will not take on that responsibility. Sourcing batteries... it would have to be something done by a member that puts together a tutorial and parts list that spells out each point along the way.


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Probably..

We are working towards it.

Analogy time.
We didn't land on the moon with the first space shot.. We blew up on the launch pad.
Now we are past the launch pad stage and are flying further and further.
Soon we will circle the moon 'our objective' and then shortly after land on it.

We are moving forward. Not in giant leaps but small steps.

The more mainstream EV's that appear means more potential battery sources we have.
The trailblazers like John, Me and others are still in the game and working on it.

The more who fit Lithium in it's current form, the more knowledge and expertise we gain for the final push to the bespoke one size fits all nimh replacement.

The BCM replacer for instance is an evolution and amalgamation of the ideas and theories behind the bcm fooler, interceptor, imac&c, obdiic&c, and all the other gadgets I make.
It is a stepping stone to a Lithium P&P BCM for a Lithium P&P Pack.

I think you will see quite a bit of progress in the next couple of years..
 

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I get calls from people asking me, about doing lithium conversions and if I am going to start putting them together?

I try to explain that currently I know there have been about 6 vehicles that have been done in the country and I don’t think any 2 are the same. Most of the guys that have built them probably have at least 100 hours of time in building their setups. Then there are the the issues of safety and the danger of fire. I don’t like the idea of cutting up the car (IMA case) to fit it together. If you are a DIYer you will probably likely have at least $1000.00 in batteries and supplies to build a setup.

Many people complain about the price and potential reliability of a replacement pack from the main 2 suppliers that are here on the forum. Both suppliers do offer up to a 5 year warranty. I can install a replacement pack in a couple hours and have a warranty and my car will function as it should.

If you convert to lithium your vehicle becomes somewhat of an exotic. If you experience problems with your car you or the builder maybe the only ones that can work on it.

If you replace your pack with a 5 year warranty and it gets warranted at four years and you get a few more years past that I think that’s not so bad.

I’ve voted.

Scott
 

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I think #2 on your list can be overcome with a tech assist meet up. Mike D. did this with MIMA a few times as I recall where he would have multiple people doing their own installs with Mike checking the work. I know that tech assist was key to me jumping on board. Perhaps something might be ready for the cars 20 year anniversary next year. If it wasn't for this forum I would probably not have my Insights as I have learned a lot from the fellow members on maintaining the car. Have fun, RIck
 

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This is going to be long winded, I can just feel it coming on;)

This question has a great deal to do with how conditions and problems are framed. If one is willing to accept S. Keith's conditions and standards as mandatory for a so called "drop-in" then the answer for Insights is never. But I believe more strongly in Peter's space exploration analogy, so I voted "maybe."

Realistically, S. Keith's standards don't even address all the hard issues. I believe that product liability and government regulation are the two 900 pound gorillas in the room. A drop-in or turnkey pack would carry significant liability, warranty, customer support, and regulatory demands. In the highly litigious, highly regulated society in which we live, both issues are mostly unresolvable for small scale risky products.

So where does that leave the conversions. I think we are and will remain in the diy realm, which leaves all the risk on the car owner. Our best hope is that someone will offer the harder pieces, such as a prefabricated mounting plate for the LTO cells. Of course, Peter is already offering the essential electronic components. (How you choose to use them is up to you of course.)
The bottom line result is a pretty well fitted out and buttoned up capability - probably much better than most diy projects. It still lacks a "panic" light and auto shut-down, but I think that is fairly easy and will evolve - probably along the half pack voltage measurement lines.

Of course, the LTO packs currently being employed are used, have limited supply and will not have follow-up production. So that supply isn't optimum. The A123 supply is also severely constrained afaik, but the number of other options is likely to increase with time.
 

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I don't think we'll see a drop-in, but this conversion will become more viable over time due to improved documentation and methods. Thanks to the information available on this site, and the stuff I was able to purchase from Peter Perkins, I had mine put together in a single weekend. (note, it's not buttoned up yet).
 

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I would love to buy one and do the current hack to make an Insight Si, but I don't think there will ever be one for sale. I would want a DROP IN replacement. I don't mind an additional harness, or reusing parts fo my existing IMA pack, but I don't want to spend a ton fo time building somethign custom.

Bumblebee would have offered one if such a thing were even viable.
 

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Bumblebee would have offered one if such a thing were even viable.
It think it is technically viable. New SCib subpacks can be ordered from Toshiba right now. I suspect that Peter's BCM replacer will go a long way toward solving the other technical issues.

You may be right on the cost front. A recent effort by ericbeckey to determine cost tolerance was not very promising. I suspect most owners want a better IMA battery but are unwilling to even pay NiMH prices. No one is going to do the manufacturing of a drop-in conversion for free.

Even if some innovative soul were willing to do the initial development for free, the parts and manufacturing of the first few batteries would probably run somewhere in the 4-5K range. At that price point, it would fall on its face in this crowd;)

Incidentally, a drop-in conversion has appeared on the market for certain golf carts, so it can be done, but that is a more affluent crow and not nearly as inclined to bottom fish on stuff.
 

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I know I've let this community down in regards to releasing Linsight in a timely manner. I started that project several years back during a rare period of downtime. I worked on it solely for three months and got to where I knew it was feasible, during which time I was able to completely reverse engineer the OEM pinout and design and build a drop-in PCB (that directly plugs into the OEM connectors)... but then my life started back up and it's been a full calendar since then...

As proposed, I believe Linsight meets all the requirements listed in this thread. The hardest thing a user would need to do is source a lithium battery pack, but I suspect that if a product like Linsight hits the market, then a drop-in lithium battery will follow.

I've been quiet about Linsight for a long time now, and will remain so until suddenly there's an "Introducing Linsight" thread... I jumped the shark last time by documenting my progress here, so now - when I do begin working on it again - I won't publicly document it here. I'd rather design Linsight on my own time, versus being pressured by this community to deliver. Of course, I'm all for it if someone else beats me to the a drop-in lithium solution.

I voted "definitely"... the only one to do so for now.
 

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I say no.....I'm not saying I don't think it will be made. I just don't think the price will be nice enough for most. If there were 400k insights on the road, then yes, I think the price would be lower.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We are working towards it.

Analogy time.
We didn't land on the moon with the first space shot.. We blew up on the launch pad.
Now we are past the launch pad stage and are flying further and further.
Soon we will circle the moon 'our objective' and then shortly after land on it.

We are moving forward. Not in giant leaps but small steps.

The more mainstream EV's that appear means more potential battery sources we have.
The trailblazers like John, Me and others are still in the game and working on it.

The more who fit Lithium in it's current form, the more knowledge and expertise we gain for the final push to the bespoke one size fits all nimh replacement.

The BCM replacer for instance is an evolution and amalgamation of the ideas and theories behind the bcm fooler, interceptor, imac&c, obdiic&c, and all the other gadgets I make.
It is a stepping stone to a Lithium P&P BCM for a Lithium P&P Pack.

I think you will see quite a bit of progress in the next couple of years..
And we haven't been back to the moon in nearly 50 years... :)

Seriously though, I hope you never stop, and I have massive respect for your expertise and accomplishments. I'm just not sure we'll ever get to the "drop-in" point. My gut says, it will always require an enthusiast to embrace it.

However, I'll concede that eventually ONLY enthusiasts will own these cars... :)

I know I've let this community down in regards to releasing Linsight in a timely manner. I started that project several years back during a rare period of downtime. I worked on it solely for three months and got to where I knew it was feasible, during which time I was able to completely reverse engineer the OEM pinout and design and build a drop-in PCB (that directly plugs into the OEM connectors)... but then my life started back up and it's been a full calendar since then...

As proposed, I believe Linsight meets all the requirements listed in this thread. The hardest thing a user would need to do is source a lithium battery pack, but I suspect that if a product like Linsight hits the market, then a drop-in lithium battery will follow.

I've been quiet about Linsight for a long time now, and will remain so until suddenly there's an "Introducing Linsight" thread... I jumped the shark last time by documenting my progress here, so now - when I do begin working on it again - I won't publicly document it here. I'd rather design Linsight on my own time, versus being pressured by this community to deliver. Of course, I'm all for it if someone else beats me to the a drop-in lithium solution.

I voted "definitely"... the only one to do so for now.
See Bolded. Fails #2 then... :) For drop-in, needs to be a:

1) place order
2) receive everything needed
3) install with little more difficulty than NiMH (may require many more steps and additional hardware - that's included with the kit, maybe even some IPU bay modification, but no actual expertise specific to Lithium).
4) drive with no significantly different monitoring, but it could be on a different display.

It was not my intention to Linsight shame you... unless it spurs you into completion mode... :p

I'd offer to help, but by the 2nd or 3rd line of technical stuff, you have me drooling and mouth breathing.
 

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I vote yes.

Bellow is a bit long .. and just my PoV / 2 bits.
;)

Lithium comes up in the discussion so very often, and I recently received a phone call from a respected member on the subject (among other topics). That led me to make this post...

CONSUMER friendly means:

1) No technical expertise required beyond that necessary to install a NiMH pack.
2) Relatively simple "plug and play" type of installation that's mostly "drop-in".
3) No need for special monitoring or preventative maintenance, i.e., one drives it until the IMA light or some equivalent signal indicates a problem.
4) it will be as safe as the NiMH packs.
No offense taken , and I don't think you are being a 'dick'.

I personally suspect .. perhaps some people just had a bit more .. rose colored glasses .. overly optimistic (less realistic) expectations on the rate of progress to expect .. combined with maybe just a dash of .. rose colored glasses looking at that NiMH option itself .. and some such people , I guess , just got frustrated and gave up hope .. when reality didn't happen as fast as they saw it behind those rose colored glasses.

---

It will happen .. but .. perhaps a bit of a reality check might be in order.

---

1st .. history reminder (as I recall it anyway):

The level you describe didn't exist even for the NiMH for many years.

First in the very early years .. I remember many owners complaining because Honda refused to sell the IMA NiMH battery to anyone .. they were not allowed to put it in , even if it was just a simple swap .. Honda (and other OEMs) actively obstructed any such accesses to OEM replacement IMA batteries.

Then after years .. and some prioneer people putting in considerable time /money / and effort .. to actually take such OEMs and dealerships to court.

Eventually it was opened up more .. although some dealerships , even to this day , still try their luck at obstructing access to such things.

Then .. many years later .. again pioneer people started opening it up themselves .. started doing work on the NiMH packs themselves.

Than after several years of tinkers doing their tinkering .. the 1st after market company opened up allowing for the 'easy' buy and pack to swap in.

but .. that 1st company end up failing .. they relied too heavily on rebuilding old packs with old sticks .. warranty replacements and people unhappy with the longevity of the product .. they died.

More time goes buy .. more time / money / effort is poured in by pioneers .. trying to find good enough quality of source of parts themselves, and the testing & matching of those into a consumer product .. for new replacement cells and sticks .. Eventually giving birth to the High voltage after market new replacement NiMH IMA battery market ..

The Likes of Bubble Bee and such arrive .. which brings us up to about ~2012 .. With ~12 Years of the Gen1 Honda Insight on the road .. and all that stuff above happening before this level of 'drop in' is reached .. It wasn't 'perfect' but just to reach that point.

---

How long as Li had .. so far .. compared to that ~12 year NiMH option it's being compared to ?

As I recall Peter's 1st prototype 40Ah Li Gen1 Insight was in ~2009.
The 2nd one 8Ah Lifebatt one he did in 2010 .. failed unable to take IMA regen.
The 3rd (1st A123 20Ah) pack he did in 2010.

If we (falsely) assumed a drop in Li conversion was equally as involved as the NiMH .. than that would be the same ~12 years .. from 2009 .. or 2021 .. or 2 more years still form now.

But .. we know the Li is actually more involved than the simpler NiMH was .. so it taking more than that ~12 years .. is really just realistic .. it is not surprising .. or negative .. or anything like that.

Lots and lots of progress has happened in these ~10 years .. I would personally argue that the rate of progress in these ~10 years toward a Li 'drop in' version has actually been faster and better than the previous rate of progress was with the far simpler NiMH option was .. progress that not only takes steps toward that Li option itself .. but steps that have (independent of Li itself) have been themselves beneficial steps to the Insight community.

----

OEM's like Honda literally spend millions of engineering hours .. from entire departments of many many people .. with millions of dollars for R&D tools, testing , prototypes , etc .. all over many years of time.

If the Insight Community is able to do in thousands of hours and thousands of dollars .. what the likes of Honda would (not exaggerating) take millions of engineering hours and millions of dollars to do something similar .. In my book that makes that Insight community fantastically superior.

VW (for example) in 2018 .. spent around ~$15.8 Billion on R&D alone .. and that doesn't include any of the value from pre-existing facilities and equipment that they had already spent Billions on in previous years .. but they still had that equipment & facilities to use in 2018 for their R&D efforts .. Toyota spent around ~$10 Billion in 2018 .. again on top of all the equipment and facilities they still have from previous years' billions spent.

for me ... 50 weeks per year x 40 hours per week = ~2000 work hours per employee per year .. sure getting something engineered and to market in ~3 years might look 'fast'.. but if it takes just 100 Employees for those ~3 years to do that .. to me that is .. 2000 x 100 = 200,000 work hours per year x 3 years = 600,000 work hours to bring that product to market .. if in say 10 years time a group of 10 people did a similar kind of product to market .. well 2000 x 10 people = 20,000 per year x 10years = 200,000 work hours to market .. to me .. those 10 people were effectively about ~3x better .. even if it took ~10 years instead of ~3 .. if those 10 people did it to market while also spending 1/3 the money as the 100 spent .. well (to me) that makes them even that much all the more better.

If someone wants it to be less 'years' to completion .. I think they should contribute .. invest their time , or invest their money , or invest their effort ... even if it is just the effort of being supportive .. of going and doing some low level grunt work .. etc.

If someone wants to oppose the work .. make it less likely to ever happen .. make it take longer to complete .. etc .. well that would be them spending their time being discouraging , being negative , etc .. etc.

---

But that's just me .. and my 2 bits.
;)
 

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It seems unlikely to me.

I drive a 2003 HCHI, not an Insight, but have the same battery replacement options (more or less). That introduces another issue - even if I replace the pack the CVT is still extremely failure prone. Assuming the CVT doesn't die outright/again (it was already serviced once, which cost $3K) it needs ridiculously frequent fluid changes to stay healthy. My IMA pack (the 3rd, this one from Hybrid Revolt) is definitely on its way out after only a couple of years. Hard to make an economic case for replacing it with another NIMH, let alone a Lithium battery. Especially because I don't drive that much. I could spend the $2000 on a conventional 2003 Civic and drive it for 8 or so years before the difference in the gas costs started to favor the hybrid, and the odds of the HCH's tranny lasting that long are minute.

For other Honda hybrids the economics would not be quite so bleak, the wonky CVT really weights the scale the wrong way.

On the other hand, having recently test driven 2015 models of the Volt, Prius, and Mazda 3 hatch, I can't say that I really liked any of these possible replacements very much. Apparently some time in the last 15 years "they" decided that seeing out the sides and back of a hatchback is unimportant!
 

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Would a super capacitor IMA replacement be any easier to make?

I'm thinking one with considerably less energy storage than an IMA, enough to handle the start/stop and some of the boost/regen, but not necessarily enough to help much getting up a hill. Seems like it would have less potential for going up in flames than lithium, and the existing controllers might be able to handle it if a little device fed fake "stick" data to them. Supercapacitors are rated for many more cycles than are any batteries, so while it might not have much oomph, it might last until the car rusts away.
 

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I voted no, only a company who already is making packs would have a chance,thinking China or a Japan company would be first to market it,but our car with only 17000 made puts their profit level low after development .
 
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