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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Honda,

Three things to make the insight perfect for me (and probably many more)

1) A reserve button. This would disable the electric motor (from battery power) for the purpose of storing energy towards the end of a drive.. I'd love to be able to store more energy, for my next drive. Or in the case of those of us in terrain, it'd help in the event of knowing a climb is coming, instead of using the battery while on flat terrain before a hill.

2) Could a capacitor, or similar device be added to allow the short term storage of excess energy once the battery is full.

3) *I know this is asking a lot, and probably not practical*. Turbocharge the 1.5l. Controlled with electronic waste gate, the turbo would only be used in situations where the car is under heavy load and the battery isn't charged enough for electric assist. I can honestly say that I've driven less powerful 4-cylinder cars through the same mountain passes that I drove with the insight a couple of days ago. And what was once a blast to drive, rowing through the gears with a 110 hp dodge neon, felt like a chore in our 21 year newer Insight with almost double the horsepower. And the kicker, the Neon got better gas mileage (on this particular mountain drive, the climb portion). The Insight did manage to do slightly better round trip, including the decent portion, and could have done much better if it could have stored additional power short term, or been able to reserve the battery for the steeper portions of the climb.,

3a) If turbocharging isn't practical, how about a second gear for highway use. Something that would improve 55+mph usage of the 2-motor system.

We absolutely love the car, just some thoughts on some minor improvements to really push this car to the next level.

-MJ
 

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Dear Honda,

Three things to make the insight perfect for me (and probably many more)

1) A reserve button. This would disable the electric motor (from battery power) for the purpose of storing energy towards the end of a drive.. I'd love to be able to store more energy, for my next drive. Or in the case of those of us in terrain, it'd help in the event of knowing a climb is coming, instead of using the battery while on flat terrain before a hill.

2) Could a capacitor, or similar device be added to allow the short term storage of excess energy once the battery is full.

3) *I know this is asking a lot, and probably not practical*. Turbocharge the 1.5l. Controlled with electronic waste gate, the turbo would only be used in situations where the car is under heavy load and the battery isn't charged enough for electric assist. I can honestly say that I've driven less powerful 4-cylinder cars through the same mountain passes that I drove with the insight a couple of days ago. And what was once a blast to drive, rowing through the gears with a 110 hp dodge neon, felt like a chore in our 21 year newer Insight with almost double the horsepower. And the kicker, the Neon got better gas mileage (on this particular mountain drive, the climb portion). The Insight did manage to do slightly better round trip, including the decent portion, and could have done much better if it could have stored additional power short term, or been able to reserve the battery for the steeper portions of the climb.,

3a) If turbocharging isn't practical, how about a second gear for highway use. Something that would improve 55+mph usage of the 2-motor system.

We absolutely love the car, just some thoughts on some minor improvements to really push this car to the next level.

-MJ
https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/7-2019-honda-insight-general-discussion/494-engine-noise-6.html#post14676
https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/266-2019-honda-insight-range-mpge-economy/2082-real-world-2019-insight-mpg-testing-results-11.html#post14326

Have you try using sport mode, it seems to work for @d3n13d and @PHILBERT on hills. Sport mode is probably the closest you can get to a reserve button on the Insight. It usually keeps the battery charged up the most compared to the other modes. I usually drive in normal mode but I will activate sport mode when I have low battery so I can charge up the battery 30 seconds or so before approaching a steep hill.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/7-2019-honda-insight-general-discussion/494-engine-noise-6.html#post14676
https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/266-2019-honda-insight-range-mpge-economy/2082-real-world-2019-insight-mpg-testing-results-11.html#post14326

Have you try using sport mode, it seems to work for @d3n13d and @PHILBERT on hills. Sport mode is probably the closest you can get to a reserve button on the Insight. It usually keeps the battery charged up the most compared to the other modes. I usually drive in normal mode but I will activate sport mode when I have low battery so I can charge up the battery 30 seconds or so before approaching a steep hill.
I did use sport mode quite a bit during my last mountain drive, once the battery has drained, the car could barely get out of it's own way, and gas mileage suffered terribly vs past 4-cylinder ice vehicles. It would have been sufficient for a hill, but an extended mountain climb felt extremely taxing on the Insight.
 

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Once the HV battery is low/depleted gas engine is the only power source, the Insight's peak 107 hp and 99 lb-ft torque is less than even my 90s Civic at 127 hp and 107 lb-ft torque. It's something that almost held me back from buying the Insight. I haven't pushed the Insight hard enough yet to see if it also tries to charge the HV battery while under that full load, but that recharge effort would also be taxing the gas engine already operating at max.
 

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Once the HV battery is low/depleted gas engine is the only power source, the Insight's peak 107 hp and 99 lb-ft torque is less than even my 90s Civic at 127 hp and 107 lb-ft torque. It's something that almost held me back from buying the Insight. I haven't pushed the Insight hard enough yet to see if it also tries to charge the HV battery while under that full load, but that recharge effort would also be taxing the gas engine already operating at max.
My 2000 Civic LX had 105HP. My wife's 1999 Civic EX had 127HP. I'd say the Insight is in the "ballpark" in terms of power. I drive a bit slower now that I'm older.

The green/blue/grey/hash-mark power band needs better definitions. We all know green is good. I've found that blue means the ICE is able to run, provide power and charge the battery (there's excess from the ICE when not in EV). Grey and above means EV is not available, but what's the difference between that and the hash-marked section of the power band? I haven't been in the hash-marked section in many months. Does it mean the squirrels under the hood are being overworked?
 

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The green/blue/grey/hash-mark power band needs better definitions. We all know green is good. I've found that blue means the ICE is able to run, provide power and charge the battery (there's excess from the ICE when not in EV). Grey and above means EV is not available, but what's the difference between that and the hash-marked section of the power band? I haven't been in the hash-marked section in many months. Does it mean the squirrels under the hood are being overworked?
Short of a full description from Honda themselves, the info @Honda2019 shared from OBDII learnings on rpm rules of thumb and readings at 4000/6000 rpms were very helpful to see operation and performance in the dashed and solid gray sections.

Even at the solid gray max, the engine/rpms had more to give AND the HV battery was still contributing (dropping). The dashed gray area tie with gas engine running at 3-4k rpms, and the HV battery also contributes to the output. The HV battery charge was consumed as quickly as the reverse observation of charging the battery.
 

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I did use sport mode quite a bit during my last mountain drive, once the battery has drained, the car could barely get out of it's own way, and gas mileage suffered terribly vs past 4-cylinder ice vehicles. It would have been sufficient for a hill, but an extended mountain climb felt extremely taxing on the Insight.
I'm very curious about this, on my last mountain drive I engaged sport mode at the bottom of the mountain while the battery still had a good charge and the battery varied a little but always maintained a charge and the car had good power all the way up. Then again we may be talking totally different classes of mountain climbs.. I took the car up the Ortega Highway/SR-74 from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore in Southern California. Best I can find is its about a ~3.3 percent grade for ~15 miles.

I'll definitely have to find all the steep climbs in the area and take it up for a drive again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I'm very curious about this, on my last mountain drive I engaged sport mode at the bottom of the mountain while the battery still had a good charge and the battery varied a little but always maintained a charge and the car had good power all the way up. Then again we may be talking totally different classes of mountain climbs.. I took the car up the Ortega Highway/SR-74 from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore in Southern California. Best I can find is its about a ~3.3 percent grade for ~15 miles.

I'll definitely have to find all the steep climbs in the area and take it up for a drive again.
Gained about 1400' Elevation over 6 miles. Unfortunately the route has no downhill sections at all. Literally not a single one. and the climb goes from very mild to intense. The last bit was just painful. If I kept the car in the blue, I wasn't going above 20mph. And the worst part is it's a 45mph road. My 5cyl Colorado would do the climb at around 3k rpm, 4k in the end section. On the way down the mountain I had full battery and engine braking for the last 5 miles or so. I went down the backside of the mountain, instead of through the valley that I had climbed, because I knew it was a 55mph road, with way less turns, to maximize fuel efficiency.

Quick Edit* I think if my math is correct, it's an average of 5% grade. The last bit is a 1000' climb in 1 mile
 

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I did use sport mode quite a bit during my last mountain drive, once the battery has drained, the car could barely get out of it's own way, and gas mileage suffered terribly vs past 4-cylinder ice vehicles. It would have been sufficient for a hill, but an extended mountain climb felt extremely taxing on the Insight.
I think it has to do with the Atkinson-cycle engine. It trades low speed output for efficiency. The electric motor in a hybrid is suppose to make up for the low speed output but once the battery is gone you start to see the consequences of having the Atkinson cycle engine. Which explains why you felt like your car could barely get out of it's own way once the battery is drained.
 

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Also the Insight's gas engine doesn't drive the wheels until a certain mph if I remember correctly. So if you're going under that speed due to lack of power with a low battery, the gas engine is just generating electricity for the battery, while you're probably using up more battery than it's getting from the gas engine.


I think the 2 options to fix this issue would be a bigger battery like in a Clarity but make sure you have enough charge to get up the mountain or a regular gas engine as a backup instead of the Atkinson-cycle engine. The regular gas engine is probably not an option for Honda if they want to get anywhere close to the advertised MPG of the Prius. They don't want a repeat similar to what happened with the 2nd gen Insight and probably think majority of Insight owners won't drive it up mountains regularly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Also the Insight's gas engine doesn't drive the wheels until a certain mph if I remember correctly. So if you're going under that speed due to lack of power with a low battery, the gas engine is just generating electricity for the battery, while you're probably using up more battery than it's getting from the gas engine.


I think the 2 options to fix this issue would be a bigger battery like in a Clarity but make sure you have enough charge to get up the mountain or a regular gas engine as a backup instead of the Atkinson-cycle engine. The regular gas engine is probably not an option for Honda if they want to get anywhere close to the advertised MPG of the Prius. They don't want a repeat similar to what happened with the 2nd gen Insight and probably think majority of Insight owners won't drive it up mountains regularly.
I agree, which is why I proposed this as a letter to Honda, this would make the car perfect for me. I love to go on long drives, and can't complain about the fuel economy. On the other hand, I live in a state that has quite a few mountains. This particular drive was only a change in elevation of ~1600'. Of which the last mile or so was an ~800ft elevation climb. If I had been able to reserve the battery for this portion, it would have made that section less painful.
 

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I agree, which is why I proposed this as a letter to Honda, this would make the car perfect for me. I love to go on long drives, and can't complain about the fuel economy. On the other hand, I live in a state that has quite a few mountains. This particular drive was only a change in elevation of ~1600'. Of which the last mile or so was an ~800ft elevation climb. If I had been able to reserve the battery for this portion, it would have made that section less painful.
I wonder if pulling to the side of the road and allowing it to charge the battery as much as possible in sport mode will help with that last mile.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I wonder if pulling to the side of the road and allowing it to charge the battery as much as possible in sport mode will help with that last mile.
It would have definitely helped. The issue would have been safety, basically no shoulder. Two lane windy mountain road.

And like I said, it isn't like I hate the car at all. Just my biggest pet peeve so far, but there is no way I'd trade one minor gripe for my '98 neon. This particular route just happens to be the perfect storm to show the only "weakness" I've found with the car. Uphill terrain, littered with hairpin turns, and no downhill sections to recover any energy... which I tried to keep fuel efficient. I could have easily put the hammer down, and not been passed by 20 year old trucks on the two straight 3 lane sections.
 
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It would have definitely helped. The issue would have been safety, basically no shoulder. Two lane windy mountain road.

And like I said, it isn't like I hate the car at all. Just my biggest pet peeve so far, but there is no way I'd trade one minor gripe for my '98 neon. This particular route just happens to be the perfect storm to show the only "weakness" I've found with the car. Uphill terrain, littered with hairpin turns, and no downhill sections to recover any energy... which I tried to keep fuel efficient. I could have easily put the hammer down, and not been passed by 20 year old trucks on the two straight 3 lane sections.
Nice to know you still had more than enough power to accelerate if you needed to. Currently planning for some road trips this summer and it's helpful reading about these experiences with the Insight on mountains. I thought it was something like driving up an icy hill where you're not sure if the car can make it up the mountain. :smile_big:
 
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