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Xsight Upgrade Anyone ???

4036 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  IamIan
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.

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...
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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...
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"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.
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