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Old 03-18-2009, 08:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Fabio could do well even with a 1 L engine considering how light the insight shell is - will allow engine to exert in its BSFC sweet spot, netting him better FE. Wotsay?

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Old 03-18-2009, 11:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MazdaMatt View Post
From memory, the insight is 1800lbs WITH a battery pack, electric motor and heavy cabling. Could you get it down to 1500 with an aluminum engine?
No, 'cause it's already GOT an aluminium engine - well, mostly. The oil pan's magnesium alloy (even lighter), other parts are carbon fiber - and it's 1000 cc.

The battery pack isn't all that heavy, maybe 50-60 lbs for the pack, maybe another 40 for the power converter electronics. The electric motor replaces the flywheel of a normal engine, so not much weight added there. There just isn't a whole lot of room to take weight off the frame & powertrain. About all I can think of is a radical body redesign, much lower & a bit narrower, like for instance the old Lotus Europa...
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm going to have to agree with James. It is going to be nearly impossible to beat the 1.0L lean burn engine that is currently in the Insight. To top it off, the Insight has just about every easy ecomod that you can do engine wise (and otherwise for that matter). Just to name a few, the gearing is already tall, it has lean burn, the engine is small, and its got regenerative braking. You basically want to throw that all away and start from scratch?

Guys that are hypermiling these cars heavily are already getting 110+mpg in the summer in nearly stock form. I think one of the best ways to get a little more mileage out of these cars is to start manipulating the hybrid system, basically what mima can do for you. Also, use a warm air intake on it to extend lean burn capability. I really don't think replacing the engine is the way to go. Other mods can certainly bump up the mileage, but Honda has already done a great job at optimizing the whole hybrid drivetrain.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Based partly on the opening salvo, and partly on the fact that I agree with Daox & James about the Insight already being a fairly extreme example of an ecomodded car, I don't have high hopes for this going anywhere useful, in terms of improving the car's efficiency.

But I'm prepared - and hope! - to be proven wrong. Maybe the OP has as much energy for modding as he does for ranting.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I suppose that it comes down to this simple question - Does the hybrid drive train make up for its own weight in efficiency?
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:32 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Somewhat academic, since he can't just take out the hybrid components and leave the existing ICE.

And the answer probably depends on the driving scenario: City type driving? Likely. Flat highways? Arguably not (but the weight penalty is pretty insignificant there).
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Is it just me or that shell would be the perfect candidate for an EV?
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The insight 3 banger really doesn't shake much with IMA disabled, and the only mod required would be to fabricate an alternator mounting bracket and figure out a place to put it so that you are able to keep your 12v system up and running without the dc/dc converter from the IMA system. Go with the stock motor.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I kinda enjoyed the post. I too am frustrated by many of the same shortcomings in the automotive market. I too am looking to engineer a better way.

I think you would be well advised to look first at whether you are going to face inspection problems with what ever you build. You didn't mention your state, but some states have rather strong antipolution regs which you could easily run afoul of. What good is it to produce a great car if you can't get a license. You think auto manufacturers are hard to change, just try changing regulatory bureaucrats ;-)

That said, it might be worth considering the use of the original Insight engine, without the electric portion. There is probably a way to "lock" it into gas mode. Then you could lighten the car a bit by removing the batteries. I'm just guessing on most of that, but it is worth at least cursory consideration. Perhaps someone will know what the basic gas only MPG is.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I didn't read all of the first post. I don't think he has the original motor/drivetrain, and is looking for something other than original to replace it with.

But, I agree with everyone, the original Insight 1.0 engine is probably the most fuel efficient option. Second best, might be VX, if it can be made to fit.

Also, if someone wanted to use the ICE without electric assist, getting the computer to control the engine properly might be a challenge.

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