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Old 04-19-2017, 12:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm a happy Gen 1 driver. 2000 5-spd.

I live in southeastern CT, and work near Hartford. Same state as you.

Part of the reason I'm happy with the Gen 1 is that I'm an obsessive hypermiler. I'm usually perfectly happy to sacrifice speed to get mpg.

I can share a bit on a couple topics.

Mine came with an aftermarket Bumblebee battery the seller had purchased two years earlier. Half a year later, it was in trouble. Bumblebee honored the 3-year warranty and provided a replacement. I installed the replacement and shipped my ailing battery back in their carton. How could I not like that?

I'm convinced that the Gen 1 battery/motor programming and the battery cooling are not the best for the car - and are the reason the batteries fail. To drive the car efficiently long term, you need a "Calpod" - two manual switches that fake the action of the car's brake and clutch switches. Also a switch to manually run the battery cooling fan, and possibly an upgraded fan.

Faking the clutch switch disables IMA assist AND regen. That's most important. Reason: Left to its own devices, the car calls for assist often, but rarely calls for regen until the battery charge level is low (which will happen of course, because it likes to call for assist). So it ends up forcing regen at times when this requires additional fuel. I found constant "churning" of energy in and out of the battery. All that energy going in and out of the battery causes heat, which is probably the primary core cause of battery failure.

Faking the brake switch will cause regen, assuming all other conditions are appropriate. But regen unless you're on a really steep downgrade, regen will always slow the car down. No such thing as a free lunch. So, while a brake switch is handy sometimes, it won't be your primary tool to keep the battery charged up. And you do want to keep it charged up. Most of the time, keep it 1-2 bars down from max full.

On the open road, there are few situations where the car will call for regen. Really, regen only occurs on a steep downgrade with your foot off the accelerator, or when braking. But it will call for assist for nearly any highway upgrade, for passing, for accelerating into a limited access road, etc., etc.

So, I keep my manual clutch switch activated most of the time. This prevents it from going into assist. I especially avoid using assist for a long upgrade, and we have plenty of them here in CT. There's always a lower gear available. If I do use assist on a long grade, I'll run the battery fan manually, and/or keep the assist to a small level, 4-5 bars if possible. A short burst at or near maximum assist is OK if the fan is on, but otherwise I think it's a guarantee of higher temperatures.

So there you go. The clutch and brake switches are kind of a pain to install but the procedures are there in insightcentral.net. You'll be on your back under the dash by the pedals. Manual fan switching is basically an add-on to the grid charging setup that you'll need anyway. A fan upgrade requires removing the battery compartment's cover panel for access, same as when installing a grid charger harness. You'll spend time on these but not a lot of money.

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Old 04-19-2017, 01:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Daox, Like you, I enjoy meddling with vehicles as they go down the road, which is why most cars I have owned are manuals. So, that has me leaning towards the G1 again.

It kind of almost sounds as if rigging up all these switches and manipulating things as you say, in addition to being entertaining, might also serve to do the job of a grid charger. Is this an accurate statement or should the GC be part of the equation as well.

One more question. How far can you coast on that hill in Glastonbury on 2? I would think just about into east hartford if you had a little extra ballast on board. I was driving a buddy's old chevy pickup when it ran out of gas there and I was able to coast into the gas station just off the exit after that hill. It was a long slow coast though.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete c View Post
Can you bump start a G1 with a tired battery?
No. In fact, you can be driving down the highway and it will quit. There is a bit of warning if you know what to look for. The DC-DC converter (that converts 144V from the pack down to 14.4V to charge the 12V battery) will cut out. That will light the battery & brake lights on the dash (something that I've never seen documented), and if you have a ScanGauge or similar, the voltage will start dropping below 12V. It normally varies between 14.4 when charging, and 12.x.

This is IMHO a design flaw: the car simply will not run if there isn't some minimum charge in the 12V, even when the IMA pack is fully charged. So e.g. forgetting to turn off headlights will leave you stuck.

Otherwise, I've been quite happy with the car. (Going on 14 years/150K miles now.) Of course I've had a MIMA system since the first year I owned it (like the Calpod thing, but more advanced). I also live in the Sierra Nevada, so have lots of long mountain climbs and descents.

It's also not good if there's more than about 5-6 inches of snow on the roads. It's just not a snowplow: the smooth belly pan makes it want to ride on top of the snow. But it's decent on snowy roads if it's not deep. I've driven over 8000 ft passes in snowstorms with no problem.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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G1 is so much more fun than the G2. I really miss mine and want to get another as soon as I can.

Unless you absolutely NEED the extra seating or extra storage of the G2, then go G1. I use the G2 to make money, so mine is utilitarian to me, but yeah it doesn't have a soul. I do want to say though that the G2 is a little more comfortable and it does have excellent handling.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete c View Post
It kind of almost sounds as if rigging up all these switches and manipulating things as you say, in addition to being entertaining, might also serve to do the job of a grid charger. Is this an accurate statement or should the GC be part of the equation as well.
Unfortunately, no. The car will generally only charge the battery to about 80% of its actual capacity (it might charge to 100% when it's recalibrating, but I can't remember). The purpose of a grid charger is to charge it to 100% and slightly overcharge the cells that get there first in order to get the others to 100%. This balances the pack. It's not as good as breaking down the battery and balancing each stick individually, but much easier and good enough in most cases.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete c View Post
...
It kind of almost sounds as if rigging up all these switches and manipulating things as you say, in addition to being entertaining, might also serve to do the job of a grid charger. Is this an accurate statement or should the GC be part of the equation as well.

One more question. How far can you coast on that hill in Glastonbury on 2? I would think just about into east hartford if you had a little extra ballast on board. I was driving a buddy's old chevy pickup when it ran out of gas there and I was able to coast into the gas station just off the exit after that hill. It was a long slow coast though.
Grid charging: As vskid3 wrote, regulating assist and regen via a Calpod or MIMA won't replace grid charging. It looks like any Gen 1 Insight should get grid charged once every 3-4 months. If your car doesn't come with a harness for that, you'll need to put it in.

The coast down that big hill? I don't coast nearly as far as you thought I might. The fastest I'll push it after cresting the hill is about 70, traffic permitting. Often I'll max out at 65. I think on a good day, I can get almost to where Rte 3 comes in. My Accord coasted further. It had much higher aero drag, but weighed nearly 1000 lb more than the Insight. Once it got going, not much could stop it. But it came nowhere near the Insight in mpg. Not counting Green Grand Prix competitions, it's best tanks were in the upper 40's mpg.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I drove a G2 for a day and, in a reversal from most commenters here, have no experience in a G1 (I wish). My take:

The G2 is a snore. It's actually a bit smaller inside than my Civic. I know nothing about its IMA system except that its peak voltage is vastly different from the HCH. The trunk was pretty roomy, all things considered.

It was super quiet. Driving it was about the least engaging interaction I have ever had with a car, and I've driven a lot of really numb cars. I reckon a Tesla on Autopilot would be more interesting.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucepick View Post
The coast down that big hill? I don't coast nearly as far as you thought I might. The fastest I'll push it after cresting the hill is about 70, traffic permitting. Often I'll max out at 65. I think on a good day, I can get almost to where Rte 3 comes in. My Accord coasted further. It had much higher aero drag, but weighed nearly 1000 lb more than the Insight. Once it got going, not much could stop it. But it came nowhere near the Insight in mpg. Not counting Green Grand Prix competitions, it's best tanks were in the upper 40's mpg.
That is why I mentioned extra ballast. Great coasting is as much a function of density as it is aero drag. Fill up the hatch area with bricks and you might see 100 mph down that hill.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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That is why I mentioned extra ballast. Great coasting is as much a function of density as it is aero drag. Fill up the hatch area with bricks and you might see 100 mph down that hill.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:02 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Newton's 3rd law says that won't help your fuel economy.

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