Honda Insight Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For some time I have been trolling the posts on this forum listening to solutions to increase mileage on our cars and/or mods to make them look cool. I’ve heard “take the mirrors off” (cool and increase mpg), “take the rear wiper off” (cool and increase mpg), “put a turbo on it” (cool and increase ICE hp and also mpg), “reduce aerodynamic drag” (increase mpg), “cover up the front grilles” (increase mpg in winter), “hot air mod” (increase mpg), “MIMA” (increase mpg), and the list goes on… Sounds like most of us believe we have a very fuel efficient and cool car already, but would like to make it even better. I love the insight, it’s amazing how the car can train you to drive and increase your mileage on other cars when you drive them just by following a few simple rules.

I believe Honda engineers did a wonderful job making the car work within the variables they had to deal with. However, for my car, the way I drive, and my commute, I can see how some modifications could increase the fuel efficiency of the car and also increase the cool factor.

All of us know how drafting an 18 wheeler increases fuel economy “greatly”. This of course is because we are reducing the drag by driving in the low pressure area behind the truck (truck cuts the air). Drafting can be scary at times due to inability to see objects in the road, truckers can get upset and so on…

I believe combining many of the proven mods (MIMA, Turbo, and Aerodynamics and more...) would increase mileage as well as cool factor. I work with race teams (NASCAR, Indy) and the Military (Aviation) and develop critical systems for them. I could not help but think we could (with some effort) develop a package for the Insight which would change the aerodynamics (reduce drag), increase horsepower (on demand), and increase cool factor (better looks) that would allow current Insight owners to upgrade to what I will call an Xsight.

To begin the quest I tried to combine many of the concepts discussed with my own ideas on how to mod the car and came up with the XSIGHT. I have an initial mockup of the exterior mods to the car which improve aerodynamics and looks.

http://www.activextreme.com/xsight/XsightAero.jpg

I am looking for constructive input on the mods shown in the photo (see link) and listed below, and would like to also get an idea of the number of Insight owners that would like an Xsight upgrade if we were to produce a total package IE,

Exterior Mods:
Aerodynamic Front Cover
Improved side skirts
Improved wheel skirts
Improved undercarriage skirts
Aero front wipers
Rear wiper removal kit (Plug kit)
Mirror Removal Kit (LCD based camera replace)
Door handle removal kit (Open with FOB)

ICE Mods:
Turbo kit
Hot air induction system
Electric A/C Compressor

IME Mods:
MIMA system
Improved larger battery pack
Grid charging

I know the first question will be how much would the Xsight upgrade cost? At this point it is too early to tell given the range of variables. With quality input from the forum I believe the Xsight upgrade could become a reality in time, what do you think...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
I think that idea is great, below is my 2 cents on a few aspects of it.

-A larger, plug-in, battery that would alow the IMA to run at constant full power for short trips.(I heard electricity is about .25$/gallon)

-An electric turbo that can be adjusted in the car

-A rear window that can crack open for better ventilation, to avoid AC.

-Finally, if the radiator was contained, and the air intake pulled out of that container, the heat could be re-cylced and would be great in the colder climates.

**One thing I have been pondering is to incorporate a Peliter device with a radiator. It seems that you could make electricity out of the temp. difference you would acheive if one side was in contact with a radiator, the other with the air. If it would work, it could be used many different ways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
brpeterson said:
**One thing I have been pondering is to incorporate a Peliter device with a radiator. It seems that you could make electricity out of the temp. difference you would acheive if one side was in contact with a radiator, the other with the air. If it would work, it could be used many different ways.
You could do this, but the energy you would recoup would be very small. The increase in weight would probrably be much more significant than the minute amount of energy you could harvest in this way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,032 Posts
I bet the mirror mod is about the best you can do for the aerodynamics. A lower air dam would help keep air out from under the car, which might help--but the car is already pretty low.

The wheels have to have some ability to cool the brakes, so you probably don't want to just cover them over completely. You need a radiator--the cooling system contributes a big fraction of the aerodynamic drag--so you can't just block off the openings in the front. The wiper is in an area where the flow is already turbulent, so taking it off probably accomplishes nothing.

To evaluate rolling resistance, push your car along the street by hand. It's obvious that most of the drag is coming from the tires: Better tires are key. I'm hoping that this latest round of concern about fuel economy will pull some new LRR tires out of the woodwork...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Lots of good ideas so far... Here are some additional thoughts...

"you can't just block off the openings in the front"

Look close at the picture you will see grille is louvered and below the front air dam would be a variable opening scoop to allow air in when needed (when stopped or in traffic) could work with speed like the rear spoiler on a late model Porsche 911 turbo (only in reverse).


"As long as we're going all out -- how about a small change to the already-not-entirely-un-aerodynamic wheels?"

Good idea, new smooth wheels (read below on LRR tires concept) which could be much lighter also.


"The wheels have to have some ability to cool the brakes, so you probably don't want to just cover them over completely"

Again air could be ducted to the brakes from under the car, heat could trigger opening the ducts. Also, big aluminum discs can conduct heat rather well.


"One thing I have been pondering is to incorporate a Peltier device with a radiator."

Now take that idea and apply it as a source for A/C like we do for the NASCAR driver helmets in the heat. Use Peltier plates to produce cold or warm air depending on the polarity of the current to them, paired to heat-sinks (cold-sinks) and air ducted across them, then into the cabin or better yet from the seat which would cool your body (like the seats in a Cobra helicopter). Then get rid of the weight of the current A/C system and the HP drain on the ICE (of course will drain more battery but that's another reason to up the battery pack size).

Additionally, use a Peltier based air induction system to supply up to 1 psi of boost to the ICE (electric turbo "somewhat") as well as control air temperature to optimize lean burn conditions. This could be electronically controlled to provide optimal boost and temperature conditions for the ICE (increase HP and window of lean burn).


"I'm hoping that this latest round of concern about fuel economy will pull some new LRR tires out of the woodwork..."

For sure better LRR tires would help. I recently had a discussion with an Amish man regarding the reason wheels on his buggy were so tall and narrow. He stated "because they help you roll over stuff and are easier for the horse to pull the buggy" thus it takes less horsepower... Now take a normal tire on a car we need it for traction and for lateral stability to help keep the car on the road, however, this causes rolling resistance (wider tire more = resistance).

Food for thought... Now, use three smaller tires side by side (almost like motorcycle front tires) these could be independently inflated (electronically controlled) like on the Army Hummer (no not the H2). This would allow the center tire to be inflated slightly more on demand to reduce rolling resistance. As the car changes direction or lateral force is detected the tires would immediately equalize for maximum traction. This would be no small undertaking and would be a very complex system but would provide the ultimate LRR on demand...

Let's keep the ideas coming...
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Depends

Totally related to the cost of gas and the savings recouped by these 'x-mods'

A better answer would be: no more than $1000-2000.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Do you have the facilities at your disposal for this?

I like the idea but see a couple of issues:

Drag: When Honda designed this car they used a mulit-million dollar wind tunnel to tune the car's CD. If you are proposing mods that will imporve this very low number I think you would need a similar wind tunnel or there would be know way of knowing if you were hurting or helping CD. The adjustements would be so minor that trying to use FE to determine the effect of a modification would be most impossible.

Rear View Mirrors: Required by law in most states I beleive. (Especially if the vehicle had them as OEM to start with)

Financial viability: Not many folks make anything for the honda insight as far as the aftermarket goes. This is because of limited profitability of a limited production car. Thus an informal cottage industry of enthusiats and such has sprung up and created things like MIMA. I am sure that if Mike was billing his time for MIMA the bill would be over 50K on R&D alone. How do you intend to make any money on this venture? Will the folks who dedicated their free time be willing to allow you to incorporate thier work in your 'for-profit' endevour?

Having said that, I'll take a set of those wheels and the front end air dam thingy.

Peace
-Jon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
"Drag: When Honda designed this car they used a mulit-million dollar wind tunnel to tune the car's CD. If you are proposing mods that will imporve this very low number I think you would need a similar wind tunnel or there would be know way of knowing if you were hurting or helping CD. The adjustements would be so minor that trying to use FE to determine the effect of a modification would be most impossible."

We do have access to wind tunnel testing and equipment if needed. Simple mods such as removing mirrors and not allowing airflow accept when needed through the front cover, and making the undercarriage a bit more aerodynamic can't hurt CD, and It looks cool also...


"Rear View Mirrors: Required by law in most states I believe. (Especially if the vehicle had them as OEM to start with)"

Will depend on where you live and vehicle inspection criteria for your particular county.


"Financial viability: Not many folks make anything for the honda insight as far as the aftermarket goes. This is because of limited profitability of a limited production car. Thus an informal cottage industry of enthusiats and such has sprung up and created things like MIMA. I am sure that if Mike was billing his time for MIMA the bill would be over 50K on R&D alone. How do you intend to make any money on this venture? Will the folks who dedicated their free time be willing to allow you to incorporate thier work in your 'for-profit' endevour?"

As always, refinement of any product and the process used to produce it will lower the unit cost. Mike and many others have done very good work trying to make our cars better. I would hope they would want to work together (as this group does) to better the car with these additional refinements. As for profitability, we produce many systems for the Military and Motorsports which don't turn a profit, but many do and make up for the rest... We always learn something useful in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
xsight said:
would like to also get an idea of the number of Insight owners that would like an Xsight upgrade if we were to produce a total package
i'm not interested (only fair to chime in since it is an answer to the question, and i'm not being a jerk); but if you come up with a kit so i can replace the electric-motor windows that i _despise_ with normal manual roller ones, also provided that the overall change results in less weight, i'll throw money at you, sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,032 Posts
Not sure if this will help you at all, but I rationalize the electric windows by noting that Colin Chapman used them in his Lotus Elan, certainly one of the most weight-efficient cars ever made...

In fact, I should admit that to me, a big part of the attraction of the Insight is that it so closely resembles the Lotus Elite, THE supercar of 1960. Light weight, about 75 horsepower, top speed around 115 MPH, several class wins at Le Mans, driven all over Europe by Jim Clark...
http://utahlotusmuseum.com/id24.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Right on, xsight.

FWIW, the GM Precept, a Diesel hybrid concpet sedan that my colleague worked on in the late 90's, had NO side view mirrors. It had flush mounted lipstick cameras and a display screen. So does the 235 MPG VW 1L.

Well done,

Steve
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,894 Posts
MPG Boost

If price is no object...

then put a hydrogen fuel injection system into it ... not replace gas but add to air intake for increased combustion...

Of course the improved CD... from smaller mirrors.. or rear view cameras... and tightenting up the front air damn...

Of course MIMA.

Of course bigger battery pack that is able to be pluged in... like a Li Battery pack.

a Wheel / Hub motor on one or both of the rear wheels to allow for short range pure EV mode... can drawl from the same Li Increased Capacity Battery Pack...

A Ultra Cap Pack for better ability to store energy from Regeneration and for Acceleration.... Or a Li Battery with plenty of cranking power as in 100 to 200 Amps in for regen or out for acceleration...

Body Panels replaced with new ones that are Shaped Solar Cells to match original body pannel design.... Should be able to give a tiny bit of boost from the energy they collect and if they are replacing the exsisting body panels then should change CD or wieght.

If cost is no object then Re-designed front side body panels to cover the front wheels as the rear wheel skirts do...

Unfortunately most of the is WAY too expensive to be practicle in any way shape or form... I will let you know if I ever win the lottery how it all turns out ;)

my 2 bits..
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top