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I drive in ECO mode 99% of the time. This favors battery usage over battery reserve. It took me a couple of months to figure out it's bet to switch to sport mode about a mile ahead of the bog hill I encounter every day to the engine doesn't whine due to low battery. I'm in a relatively hilly area. The "flatlanders" likely never see much of a battery variance, so it will likely hang out in the top-middle of the gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
No hills at all in my area ( I live in Tampa, FL, everything is flat here haha) but I’ve read that when using the Insight on a hill it struggles to pick up (using the sport mode should help with this)
The secret is to engage sport mode about a mile or so before the hill so you'll have battery in reserve. This will avoid most of the engine whine. If you hit a hill with four or less bars of battery, you'll have a bad time. It took me a week or two to get used to the difference vs. a gas-only car, but I was happy once I got everything sorted.
 

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Hasarad's tip has been giving me better mileage too. It's better to get to hills with a lot of battery, even if it means engaging Sport mode while you're on a flat(ter) surface. Over the past two days I've seen a 4-5 MPG improvement over what I was getting on previous routes, pulling 48 MPH in my Touring while it's ~40 degrees outside. And that's still with winter fuel.
 

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Once the battery is charged up in Sport mode ahead of the hill, is it best to STAY in Sport mode to drive the hills? At what point is it best to switch back to Econ mode for efficiency?
 

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I switch to normal (not Econ) once the hill starts. The idea is that hills use more energy than flat roads, in any car, and that battery energy is greener than gas energy. So you want to have battery to use on the hill and then use it on the hill.

Think about being on a flat road. It doesn’t take much energy at all to keep any car going at the same speed. That’s why highway mileage is higher than city mileage in gas-only cars. So if you have to pick one place to use gas over the battery, flat roads or hills, it’s better to use gas on flat roads. You don’t use as much gas (for the same distance).

Econ and normal modes differ only by the throttle response. Since that’s the only difference I prefer to stay in normal to get to cruising speed faster. I get impatient and I get the same MPGs anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Once the battery is charged up in Sport mode ahead of the hill, is it best to STAY in Sport mode to drive the hills? At what point is it best to switch back to Econ mode for efficiency?
It depends on battery level. It'll require a few attempts to see when you hit the top of the hill before you get to four bars. I generally keep it in sport mode until the top of the hill and build battery on the downside. When I hit my exit, I'm normally at 100% battery, so it's all good.
 

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I switch to normal (not Econ) once the hill starts. The idea is that hills use more energy than flat roads, in any car, and that battery energy is greener than gas energy. So you want to have battery to use on the hill and then use it on the hill.
When in Sport mode to prep for hills, is it best to leave in 'max regeneration' mode at all times (especially since the regen level sticks/stays while in Sport)?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When in Sport mode to prep for hills, is it best to leave in 'max regeneration' mode at all times (especially since the regen level sticks/stays while in Sport)?
Regen is only effective when you're off the throttle. When going up the hill, it doesn't matter.

Attached is the result of my 50 mile drive to work. Liberal use of sport mode on uphills, and in ECO otherwise. This is in the hilly parts of New Jersey using winter-blended gas. Drive started with outside temps in the high 30s and low 40s. Cabin heat was on the entire time. Tires were 40psi on all four corners. I think I've finally got the Insight sorted out - even with the compact spare tire, jack and toolkit in the trunk! :grin:
 

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Attached is the result of my 50 mile drive to work. Liberal use of sport mode on uphills, and in ECO otherwise. This is in the hilly parts of New Jersey using winter-blended gas.
Nice!! EX trim, right? What are the MPGs like on your return trip?
 

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Perhaps this would be a good transition point for a new thread topic called "driving techniques from @hasarad" :wink:

I've thought of the switch between modes (Sport/Econ/Normal) similar to switching between transmission positions. Specifically, I've only switched modes when stopped. It's likely over-paranoia, so I wanted to check to see if there is a technical explanation and confirm I'm not damaging anything by switching throttle and other settings mid-drive -? Clearly the mpg results are fantastic...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Nice!! EX trim, right? What are the MPGs like on your return trip?
61 on the return trip.

Took my daughter to dance class 40 miles away tonight. Got 68 going and 52 on the return. I'll take the 60mpg average for the r/t since it was ALL highway.
 

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Perhaps this would be a good transition point for a new thread topic called "driving techniques from @hasarad" :wink:

I've thought of the switch between modes (Sport/Econ/Normal) similar to switching between transmission positions. Specifically, I've only switched modes when stopped. It's likely over-paranoia, so I wanted to check to see if there is a technical explanation and confirm I'm not damaging anything by switching throttle and other settings mid-drive -? Clearly the mpg results are fantastic...
You're not doing damage by switching modes while driving. The Insight does a good job of protecting itself! All it does is alter the computer settings for desired battery reserve, driver inputs and power outflows. There have been a few times where I was unable to switch modes, but the car told me that. This occurred primarily while attempting to switch modes in the midst of a sharpish turn.

I chalk up the great mpg I'm getting to the fact I have what amounts to the perfect drive for the Insight. 50 miles each way at 45-50 mph with very few stops in hilly terrain. If you play the sport-ECO button dance, the numbers pay off. I can't wait until the weather gets warmer again and we no longer have winter-blended fuel forced on us. I was a steady 60+ average until late-October hit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am rescinding my recommendation of using sport mode when approaching hills. I've been a little better about driving in ECO while keeping things in the blue band and have not had engine whine while also increasing my winter mpg numbers. I arrive about two minutes later to work over a 50 mile drive, so the time cost is negligible. I only have about five miles of actual highway driving on the commute, but I stick to the right lane. It's amazing how much a 5mph difference can affect mpg numbers. I suggest everyone leave five minutes early for their commute and try it out.
 

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Ok, so I've been pondering this and think I've come up with a relatively simple explanation of the driving modes and why they are better for certain scenarios.

Eco Mode:
Prioritizes ev bursts, it doesn't build up the battery for sustained drives.

Best for stop and go/ traffic/ city. To achieve best results, coast as much as possible up to red lights/traffic.

Normal Mode:
The balanced approach. Depending on speed, engine load etc, this drive mode has the widest range of applications and computer input. On slower drives Normal mode will try to maintain 4+ bars of battery, but with enough traffic, will sometimes allow down to 2 bars of battery. On faster drives (45+) on flat highways, I've regularly seen this mode build up to 8 bars of battery and then run EV only until 4 bars. Rinse and repeat. It sustains EV only for a mile+ at time resulting in better highway mpg.

Best for Highway driving, and generally any time you will sustain a speed of 30+mph for any time longer than a minute or two.

Sport Mode:

This is not meant to be a fuel efficient mode, but a more aggressive mode. Under certain conditions, it can actually be the most efficient mode. (ie. Rolling hills). This mode prioritizes battery reserve, and unless at a set speed, or near full battery it rarely chooses to run EV only. The thing to remember here, is that if you are in a situation where the ICE would be running anyways. Terrain, drivetrain load etc... This is the go to mode, because every chance that it gets, the computer will charge the battery pack.

Observations:

The thing we all have to consider is that battery percentage directly correlates to fuel efficiency. If we have the opportunity to choose a route with a long descent over a shorter steeper descent, up until the point where the battery pack would be at a full charge, the longer descent wins. If we have the opportunity to take a slightly longer route, with less traffic/stop signs etc. that will always be the more fuel efficient route (with similar topography). If you know you are on a flat section, or descent, leading up to an incline, shifting to sport mode to build the battery charge will result in better overall fuel efficiency.

When we first got the car, it lived in Eco mode, but now after a couple months of exploration and observations, I actually swap modes accordingly, and have noticed better fuel efficiency. This may not be necessary for those that aren't "topography challenged" but for those of us where every commute involves climbs and descents, it's still possible to beat EPA mileage, albeit it a little more of a conscious effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good analysis Wifey.

I have lived in ECO mode for 18K miles and have been happy with my mpg results so far (excluding winter). I used to use sport mode for hill ascents, but found slowing a bit to remain in/near the blue power band is more effective. I have never really explored normal mode. I have found ECO mode to flatten the throttle response to eliminate jerky starts and general acceleration. At the risk of hurting my average, I may take your experience and try normal mode for my next tank. I'll need to concentrate a little more during acceleration though to ensure I'm still graceful. My drives are always rolling hills at a 45-50mph average. I don't do city driving, so I think it's the hills and inherent regen that help my numbers. I'm not sure I'd do as well in ECO if I lived in Kansas. I'll risk my next tank for the reward of knowing.
 

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Good analysis Wifey.

I have lived in ECO mode for 18K miles and have been happy with my mpg results so far (excluding winter). I used to use sport mode for hill ascents, but found slowing a bit to remain in/near the blue power band is more effective. I have never really explored normal mode. I have found ECO mode to flatten the throttle response to eliminate jerky starts and general acceleration. At the risk of hurting my average, I may take your experience and try normal mode for my next tank. I'll need to concentrate a little more during acceleration though to ensure I'm still graceful. My drives are always rolling hills at a 45-50mph average. I don't do city driving, so I think it's the hills and inherent regen that help my numbers. I'm not sure I'd do as well in ECO if I lived in Kansas. I'll risk my next tank for the reward of knowing.
I took a hit for the team. I ran my last tank 100% in Normal mode to see how much of a difference there would be in my MPG numbers. I got 373 miles into the tank and threw in the towel. I got the worst tank results I've had since the depths of winter - 58.1mpg. To put things into perspective, my last three tanks were ~70mpg. That's a 13% drop in fuel efficiency. I did notice the differences in the algorithm (hey, who doesn't like saying "algorithm?") where the throttle response is different, the ICE kicks in sooner and EV isn't engaged as long when running in Normal mode. I think it's the rolling hills of my drive that affords me decent EV run-times in ECO mode. Where I know where the charging will occur, the Insight does not. ECO's heavier use of EV running means it won't try to charge the battery with the ICE as often, and the terrain does it instead based on my inputs.

Yet another reason I believe I have the perfect commute. I'm going back to ECO mode. I took a 0.1mpg lifetime hit in the name of science, but I learned something!
 

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Adding/re-sharing here some hill-related tips recapped by @hobokencentral from article in the New Member Introduction section - https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/1342-post8.html

Use hills to your advantage. Generally, this means you should go slower up hills, and faster down hills. Going uphill slower helps prevent wasting more gas than is necessary to get up the hill. Going downhill faster uses less gas and produces valuable momentum that you can use instead of engine power. If you combine the two in areas with small hills, you'll see much higher mileage.
  • While going downhill, you can go faster using less gas. As such, don't lay off the pedal completely - use it until you're going a little faster than normal.
  • Use every downhill slope to your advantage. For instance, when coming down a hill and faced with a red light at the bottom (where it levels out), try to stop well before the light so that you can use the remaining downhill slope to your advantage when you need to move again.
  • Avoid stopping on an incline heading upwards. Starting from a dead stop on a hill is the worst scenario in terms of fuel economy - your engine is fighting the weight of the car, plus the car's acceleration downhill from gravity. Stop at the top of the hill, or stop before you climb the hill when safe to do so.
An additional tip shared in the thread is to drive in "stocking feet" to better feel/manage the accelerator control. ;)
 

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Adding/re-sharing here some hill-related tips recapped by @hobokencentral from article in the New Member Introduction section - https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/1342-post8.html

Use hills to your advantage. Generally, this means you should go slower up hills, and faster down hills. Going uphill slower helps prevent wasting more gas than is necessary to get up the hill. Going downhill faster uses less gas and produces valuable momentum that you can use instead of engine power. If you combine the two in areas with small hills, you'll see much higher mileage.
  • While going downhill, you can go faster using less gas. As such, don't lay off the pedal completely - use it until you're going a little faster than normal.
  • Use every downhill slope to your advantage. For instance, when coming down a hill and faced with a red light at the bottom (where it levels out), try to stop well before the light so that you can use the remaining downhill slope to your advantage when you need to move again.
  • Avoid stopping on an incline heading upwards. Starting from a dead stop on a hill is the worst scenario in terms of fuel economy - your engine is fighting the weight of the car, plus the car's acceleration downhill from gravity. Stop at the top of the hill, or stop before you climb the hill when safe to do so.
An additional tip shared in the thread is to drive in "stocking feet" to better feel/manage the accelerator control. ;)
I have found there are a few situations where getting up the hill more quickly. This would only apply if decent battery reserves exist. I've been going one big hash over the blue in the power bar and have seen an increase in my overall numbers. The added benefit is that I don't piss off as many drivers behind me as I used to. Battery level is key for this being beneficial.

For those who drive barefoot (not me) for the better feel, this will help - https://www.amazon.com/Pedicure-Foot-File-Colors-vary/dp/B00113FENI
 

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I have found there are a few situations where getting up the hill more quickly. This would only apply if decent battery reserves exist. I've been going one big hash over the blue in the power bar and have seen an increase in my overall numbers. The added benefit is that I don't piss off as many drivers behind me as I used to. Battery level is key for this being beneficial.
If the the size/length of the hill allows AND I'm on a familiar route where I know/anticipate a hill is coming - I will increase my speed and accelerate INTO (ahead of) the hill climb. It lets me use existing momentum to propel myself up a portion of the hill, and gives a 'running start' to reduce the remaining power use needed to climb the hill. I gain the energy back on the downhill segment.
 

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If the the size/length of the hill allows AND I'm on a familiar route where I know/anticipate a hill is coming - I will increase my speed and accelerate INTO (ahead of) the hill climb. It lets me use existing momentum to propel myself up a portion of the hill, and gives a 'running start' to reduce the remaining power use needed to climb the hill. I gain the energy back on the downhill segment.
YES ! One of my favorite techniques. Something I've been using in all vehicles I've driven (including a bicycle :)). The effect is especially noticeable in a very heavy or severely under powered vehicle.

Regarding the center console buttons (ECON,SPORT, EV): I've been pushing them at will regardless of speed. I'm up to 6950 miles on the odometer and no ill effects noted so far. Almost all of my driving is under 50 mph, in a hilly area. I run with ECON on all the time and push EV button to use battery-only for hill climbing as it (and battery charge level) is available. Am not using SPORT.

Tomorrow I head out on a highway trip to Eugene (around 300 miles round trip). I drive around 60 mph on the two lane, and 70 on the Interstate. There are many short, medium, and long hills to climb. They are gentle, moderate, to steep (up to around 7%) in their incline. I'll push ECON off, (less foot pressure on throttle needed / more comfortable throttle feel for as-needed passing). I know the road and plan to push SPORT to on, 0.5 - 1 mile prior to moderate length but steep upgrades. This will charge up the battery to a higher level, which will mean lower engine rpm (less gas use) during the hill climb.


My last trip was late March, when I got around 51.5 mpg for the trip. That was better than the 47-49 I was expecting. Will see if I can do any better this time.
 
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