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Old 11-02-2014, 08:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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De-hybriding a first gen insight

I really like the 5 speed 1st gen insights. They beat the crap out of anything made since for mileage. I was wondering what a non-hybrid insight would do mileage wise? How much lighter would it be without the battery/MCer? It would give up a bit of mileage in city/hilly driving, but, could it possibly do even better as a highway cruiser? Would it be possible to remove the electric motor? I suspect not as it is sandwiched between the engine and tranny.

I suspect there are those out there that have gone this route, rather than try to resurrect a dead battery pack? What sort of mileage do you get?

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Old 11-03-2014, 10:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I wouldn't do it. I'd nurse a dead pack forever in a gen. 1 Insight (grid charger life support) rather than pull it out, provided it could still perform high voltage engine starts via the motor/generator.

Why? Because the engine auto-stop feature when used with a kill switch is incredibly cool in a gen 1 Insight. (Eg. the way it restarts the engine instantly and quietly when you shift back into gear.)

Also, the weight savings are negligible (the battery pack weighs 67 lbs with the cooling fan).

Also also, regenerative braking is cool - instead of generating heat and brake dust, you have the option of generating and storing electricity for later use (even if only to feed the 12v system instead of by burning gas). Can't do that if you yank the battery pack.

The vast majority of the distance I drove my 2000 Insight (~2 years), I had hybrid assist electrically disabled (via the clutch switch mod) in order to baby a weary battery pack. And yes, I still got insane fuel economy.

But for the reasons mentioned, I would never have dumped the pack, even though the car was effectively "de-hybridized" the way most people would think of it.
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Reducing assist on acceleration can be a good way to increase fuel economy, because the hybrid pack also powers the 12V system through a DC-DC converter.
Depending on conditions the brake regen power may about match the power needed for the 12V system.

If you use extra for acceleration boost you may need regen while maintaining speed.
But when you are accelerating the throttle opens wider which makes the engine produce power more efficiently, while if you regenerate on low power the engine runs less efficiently.
In the worst case the boost replaces efficiently produced direct power by inefficiently produced stored power with charge/discharge losses to boot...

But having boost is not all bad. It makes you go when you need to go, instead of wishing the engine was bigger.
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Completely de-hybriding one would be major surgery. For one, you'd need to figure out how to bolt on an alternator, Then, if I'm not mistaken, the electric motor, clutch, & flywheel are pretty much an integrated unit. The motor also acts as a dynamic balancer for the engine. Then there are all sorts of possible interactions between the IMA system and the engine ECU...

FWIW, my experience of driving with limited battery (that is, when I've put off rebalancing for a bit too long) is about 5-10 mpg less (from mid-70s in good conditions to mid-60s), poor acceleration, and minor inconveniences like the DC-DC converter cutting out.
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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To make it a fuel efficient commuter? No, probably not your best bet.

There are a bunch of Gen1 Insights that have been de-hybrided... but for performance reasons rather than economy. There is even a kit to swap in a K series drivetrain:
00-07 Honda Insight K20 Swap Kit for Auto Chassis to 5 Speed Conversion
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
If you use extra for acceleration boost you may need regen while maintaining speed.
But when you are accelerating the throttle opens wider which makes the engine produce power more efficiently, while if you regenerate on low power the engine runs less efficiently.
In the worst case the boost replaces efficiently produced direct power by inefficiently produced stored power with charge/discharge losses to boot...

But having boost is not all bad. It makes you go when you need to go, instead of wishing the engine was bigger.
In the case of the First Gen, assist doesn't come on until the engine is at or close to 100% load. It may hold onto assist if you ease off the throttle, but assist shouldn't ever happen unless you're trying to get more power than WoT can provide. Simply being lighter on the pedal so as not to engage it (learn where max load is and don't push past it) or installing a Calpod switch would be idea.

As others have said, the IMA system doesn't weigh much. The battery only accounts for about 3.5% of the car's total weight, and you'd still want the electric motor in there to more efficiently generate electricity for the DC-DC converter.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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IMHO this car is way too cool with the IMA components installed and functioning to drive one without them. The Gen-1 for it's tiny size isn't particularly light (my Festiva was lighter), so it'll be a slug as a gas-only 3-banger unless you boost it, which immediately negates the one and only selling feature of the car.

There are lots of ways to revive a tired battery on the cheap. I swear by the brake regen button and clutch interrupt switch (assist inhibitor) I installed on Turtle. They are keeping my IMA battery fully charged, and I use the assist a LOT. My strategy is to get into lean burn as quick as possible, and that means using lots of assist.

Good luck if you get one, whatever you end up doing with it! There are definitely a lot of people that can help you keep one up and running!
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The ima system is required for the vehicles lean burn to work. Those equipped with lean burn are easy to get 3 digit mpg with a good or bad battery.

Batteries can be replaced or rehab.

Id try a motorcycle drivetrain, 2 cylinder engine if Id changed the drivetrain.

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