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2019 Honda Insight EX
3,067 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sharing these interviews here because I found them fascinating if you're interested in learning more about the 3rd gen Insight's development. Translation to English might not be perfect because I used Google Translate.

1st interview

  • Shunsuke Ma, Product Planning Division, Honda Product Brand Department
  • Innovation Researcher Seiichiro Yonekura
After about 10 years, Honda Insight has returned. In 1999, the world's best fuel economy was the first model to pursue fuel economy. In 2009, he drastically changed the concept and drove the hybrid car boom. And 2018. After another major concept change, There is elegance in the insight that has become a top model of the Civic. Honda Insight gradually transformed into a top model. About the background of the model change, With Shunsuke Ma, Product Planning Division, Product Brand Department, Let's take a look at an interview with Seiichiro Yonekura, an innovation researcher.

What we pursued is the original prime of the car

――― First of all, please tell us about your involvement in insights.
Ma: About three years have passed since I started product planning, but last year I was in charge of Japan for the new Civic, and this is the second model of this Insight. Recently, it is said that the usability of the car is important for customers, but Honda believes that "enriching life" and "joy of driving" are two wheels of the car.

This new Insight aims to be a fun car or a car that makes it a pleasure to own, rather than the latter.

――― Can you talk about your thoughts on Honda as a manufacturer for Yonekura?
Yonekura: I am an innovation researcher. That's why I am very sympathetic and fond of Honda's founder, Soichiro Honda, one of the most innovative managers in Japan, and I think he is a great manufacturer. Back when I was in the United States, when the City Cabriolet and the first Prelude were introduced, it was a huge shock.

Not only me, but also Americans, I saw it in front of me, "What is this ?!" However, I personally thought that recent Japanese cars were generally boring, so today I have high expectations for the new Insight.

――― This insight is a full model change for the first time in 10 years. What about the sales results of Mr. Ma, the first and second generations?
Between: The first model was the world's number one fuel-efficient model, and sold about 2,300 to 2,400 units in about 10 years. There was a part where fuel efficiency was prioritized above all, and it was the first model of fuel efficiency anyway, such as loading a large capacity battery with 2 seaters.

In the second generation, with the desire to "deliver a hybrid car to many customers," we aimed to provide products at affordable prices to our customers. In terms of shape, it became a compact 5-door hatchback, and although the crew space was somewhat narrower, we sold about 158,000 units.

Yonekura: I also found the concept of the original Insight interesting, including the design that hid the rear wheel. I do not know the details because the second generation is not riding, but in the era when everyone was looking for a car of that size, the price strategy would have been good.

――― Please tell us about the background of the development, including the target parts and concepts of the third generation.
Ma: At first, the concept was “Timeless and Simple”. The plan started with the desire to deliver it as a prime (high-quality) car, and the debate was "What is prime in the first place?"

Good design and good driving, fun to drive simply, pure running. Pursue the intrinsic value of such vehicles. The skeleton was decided to be realized with a sedan, the basic form of a car.

How to meet the great expectations of Honda

――― Certain customers may be confused by the change from hatchback to sedan. But this design is really sexy. Especially, I felt that the design of modern compact to middle-sized hybrid cars had been lost.

Ma: When fuel efficiency is important, the aerodynamic performance and battery layout are similar.

Yonekura: But even next-generation vehicles have excellent designs. I expect Honda because I like it, but where is the uniqueness of this insight?

Ma : Sure, the Honda manufacturer feels that customers' expectations are high in a good way. Next-generation vehicles will be EVs (electric vehicles) and hydrogen vehicles, but they are still expensive and have limited cruising range. The infrastructure is not in place. A hybrid is a car that uses gasoline, but has the characteristics of an EV and is becoming the standard in next-generation vehicles.

The answer as an insight team is to ask if the direction of a hybrid car that other manufacturers are doing is good, and the answer to the question that customers are seeking from Honda is that the uniqueness is good style. Yes, I thought it was a good run.

Yonekura: When you drive, you can see the difference from a conventional hybrid car.

Ma: Rather, in order to achieve fuel efficiency, conventional hybrid cars were trying to run on electricity efficiently without wasting gasoline.

However, this insight is set up so that you can feel the exhilaration of the run first and feel good when you hold the steering wheel. Equipped with a 2-motor type "SPORT HYBRID i-MMD", we have put considerable effort into giving you a sense of quality when driving. This packaging is designed to provide the essential value of a car, "driving pleasure."

Yonekura: You talked about intrinsic value, but I think it's good to sell the story of cars, not cars as products. However, if you make a car that only pursues fuel efficiency, you will become a parts provider, and someday it will be changed for another.

There was a famous railroad king Vanderbilt in the United States in the 19th century, but it disappeared in the 20th century. The remarkable marketer Theodore Levitt wrote why, "If they defined their business as transport rather than railroad, the world has changed."

Vanderbilt had decided his business was railroad. If we defined it as transportation and absorbed and deployed automakers who were not yet mainstream at the time, we might have developed our business permanently. In that respect, Honda has the uniqueness of Honda that no other company has. Recently, HondaJet has been created and it is always trying to show the difference between mobility and transportation.

Pursuit of both comfort and running as means of transportation

――― I will ask you two. I think that minivans and SUVs have emerged in Japan as a result of continuing to seek fuel efficiency and utilities over the past 20 years. Where did the voice for "running" come from?
Yonekura: For example, there is no point in riding an SUV with full-scale performance on rough roads in Tokyo. However, there are aspects that people who are riding such a car imagine "I will go shoot the duck on the weekend". That image does not mean that I like running off-road, but I like that lifestyle.
Similarly, when Honda made the beat, many people and I felt "it's like a bike, it's interesting." However, I thought it was more interesting to be on a funky beat than on the run itself.

In that sense, there are very few people who want "running," but I think there are a certain number of people who want a story that overlaps with a car that is particular about running.

Ma: Actually, I don't think there are always many people who demand running. In today's era when the number of automobiles is increasing and it is becoming commonplace to own cars, many people consider cars as a means of transportation.

Nevertheless, Honda provides driving pleasure and mobility comfort. I think that the base is that we need to do both.

――― Is it positioned between the Civic and the Accord in the Honda lineup? Ma: That's right. In that sense, I would like you to enjoy driving instead of buying this new Insight as a means of transportation.

Honda offers many models to enrich your life, such as the N series or the Fit. On the other hand, if you are looking for a better driving experience or a pleasure to own, we would like to answer with the Civic launched last year and this insight.

Yonekura: Car sharing has already begun in New York, but when sharing becomes standard, it's also important to make sure that it's the car of choice.

In such an era, I think that Honda's cars will be asked to consider the value of using them and the extent to which they have a unique view of the world.

Ma: Before the launch of the Civic last year, as a result of the increase in minivans and minicars in sales, some customers have stated that Honda has been a minivan and minicar company since. Last year, we launched the Civic, which pursued design and driving, with the desire to break it.

Nevertheless, in today's world, environmentally friendly cars are also being sought, and unfortunately, the Civic only had a gasoline engine. I knew in Japan that this class of car would still require a hybrid, so I would like to offer this insight at a time close to the Civic so that it can be delivered to both Japanese customers.

What do you think of Mr. Yonekura actually seeing the actual car?
Yonekura: Is there a volume behind the body? The more you become a premium model, the more you tend to say this.

Ma: Yeah, recent sedan trends aren't three boxes. It is a coupe style with a sleek design that has more windows laid down, unlike the old sedan.

Yonekura: I see. There is a creative atmosphere in the interior. And the seats are pretty sporty too.
Between: Compared to other cars, the package is wider and lower, so I think the sitting impression feels sporty. You should feel a sense of contact with the ground and a sense of stability while driving.

Yonekura: When you sit in the backseat, it's pretty wide.
Between: All the hybrid batteries are placed under the rear seats, so the rear seats have a space where you can sit comfortably.

Yonekura: It is wonderful that the living space in this class has a higher dimension. This car has 80 points of comfort, 90 points of fuel efficiency and 90 points of style, so even if you do spider web scoring, it seems to be quite balanced.

Ma: Until the previous generation, there was a part that could not be realized because of the desire to deliver it to customers at a compact size and at low cost. The new Insight has an essential part. I think it's a car that doesn't compromise on all of its size, texture and good running.

Yonekura: I really feel that a worldview is important for a car that is really good. And it's also important where you sell that car. In that sense, this new insights category is vacant in marketing.

When it comes to selling in the middle class category in Japan, it doesn't seem like it sells quite a bit. I'd love to hear about the sales results next year and look forward to it.

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2019 Honda Insight EX
3,067 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
2nd interview

  • Mr. Satoshi Uchida (Technical Design Studio Researcher, Design Office)
  • Riku Wada (Design Studio 1 Studio Researcher)
  • Mr. Wataru Murayama (Design Studio 1 Studio Researcher)
  • Mayuka Karami (Design Studio 3 Studio Researcher)

The new "Insight" shows a calm and calm appearance. There is no special production because it is a hybrid, and it is a chic outfit that emphasizes formalism as a sedan. What was the purpose of this design? We asked the designers in charge of insight design.

――― The platform is based on the Civic and Accord, but the wheelbase of 2700mm is the same as the Civic. So how is the packaging design different from the Civic, and what is the feature?

Mr. Satoshi Uchida (Researcher, Technical Design Studio, Design Office): The layout of the occupants is actually the same as the Civic. Therefore, the feature is that the battery mounting position is secured while protecting the package. Before the start of development, it was said that "Would you like to extend the wheelbase?", But in fact, we are developing with the proposition "Protecting the Civic".

――― Not only the battery for the hybrid system but also the normal 12V battery has been changed in layout and moved inside the center console. This was realized by using a shift switch.

Uchida: Actually, the hardware layout has changed drastically due to the hybrid system, but basically the space between the occupants and the luggage compartment is protected. So, as a packaging manager, it was like working around asking the engineers to "protect me!" The hardware specialists must have struggled.

Exterior focuses on authenticity

――― On the other hand, the overall length is 25mm larger than the Civic. Is this for styling reasons?

Mr. Riku Wada (design room 1 studio researcher, hereafter abbreviated): Yes. As a result of facing "solid authenticity" from the front, I decided to use dimensions in the design.

――― Authentic (orthodox, right) is important as a sedan. Did you ever think of a direction for expressing aerodynamic and environmental performance through exterior styling as a hybrid-only model?

Wada: The goal was to express the high-quality driving and driving pleasure provided by the i-MMD. However, in the sense of showing the attitude that the hybrid car should be like this in the future, it may be the same as successive insights.

――― It is no longer an era of styling claiming to be a hybrid.

Wada: Even with the new model, there is a lot that can be said about aerodynamics. The time spent in styling, however, was to control the overall airflow to make it look like an authentic sedan while meeting the strict aerodynamic requirements.

――― That's why on the body side the fenders have an inflection that is close to the loose continuity, and the front end has a solid grill.

Wada: Speaking of hybrids, fuel efficiency has been the focus of attention until now. In contrast to this, the quality of driving and the focus on such things are changing. Therefore, the target is people who can understand such differences. We styled to respond to the values ​​we want to deliver with a new focus on hybrid technology, and to respond to those aesthetics and values.

Interior pursuing intrinsic value

――― The indoor space composition is the same as the Civic, but the character of the vehicle is very different. How did you try to express your view of the world as insight?

Wataru Murayama (Design Studio 1 Studio Researcher, hereafter abbreviated to title): We started the design by trying to get satisfaction as a slightly more advanced product than Civic. In the case of the Civic, decoration is used to express energy, but insight is used to express adultness and quality.

――― Do you want to create a calm atmosphere?

Murayama: I thought that it was not the people who got the new car for the first time, but those who had experienced buying a new car several times. As a "place to come back" for such people, we are pursuing the intrinsic value that makes you think that cars are like this. Therefore, we designed the product with care for its moist and glossy quality.

――― You are a person who has returned to the essence through various experiences and experiences. The fact that the soft pad is used in a large area also seems to contribute to the high quality.

Murayama: The driver's “excitement of driving” is different from the exhilaration that people sitting in the passenger seat can be satisfied with. Soft pads are used to connect these two different values. Although the instrument panel shape is aimed at a cockpit feeling that surrounds the driver's seat, it was aimed at something different from the feeling of being surrounded like a sports car.

――― Is the meter's graphic similar to orthodox twin eyes also an essential expression?

Murayama: The motif is authentic. While responding to the modern needs of digitally transmitting information, we attempted to balance such information transmission functions with the value of meters as instruments.

Color design that matches the modeling theme and pace

――― Body color is mainly achromatic. I feel like it's a bit plain overall ...

Mayuka Karami (Design Studio 3 Studio Researcher, hereinafter abbreviated title): The colors and materials of Insight are simple, but a bit of attention and elegance can be felt for those who know "good things". I value the place. The exterior colors are available in a variety of colors that look beautiful and high quality, making use of the rich shapes of the body side surfaces.

――― Do you mean this when you choose a color that enhances the modeling?

Karami: There is no character line on the body side. "The emphasis is on making the transition from highlights to shades look beautiful because it has a rich surface that is slowly changing overall.

――― Even in the interior, it is a drastic setting to use only black.

Karami: I wanted to convey the insights of the world. However, even if you say black at a glance, there is a difference in tone depending on the surface material. The interior has black tones to create a space where people can feel breathing and warmth. The pattern of the seat fabric is not orderly but has a fluctuation, and ultra suede is treated with "Motorlink" to add movement to the surface, making it feel like warmth of people and hands .

――― It seems simple, and there are various flavors when you look closely. The theme and concept are the same for interior and exterior.

Karami: Exteriors and interiors are not easy to understand values, but people who have seen a variety of things have noticed the difference and are trying to make them feel good. This is the same not only for color but also for styling.

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2019 Honda Insight EX
3,067 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
3rd interview

  • Katsumi Horikawa, Head of Development
  • Mr. Osamu Inaba, 7th Block, Technology Development Office
  • Yuji Saito, Technology Planning Block, Technology Development Office 10
  • Mr. Masahiko Ogoshi, 2nd Block, Technology Development Office 9
  • Mr. Takashi Onuki, Technology Planning Block, Technology Development Office 10

One of the concept keywords of the new Insight is “Prime”. It just means “good quality”, which is different from expensive or expensive. High quality can be expressed by the words “timeless” and “minimum”. These are the pre-release seats for the new Insight in Japan, and are words spoken by Katsumi Horikawa, the director of development. Asked them to talk in their respective positions.

The aim was a prime sedan, conscious of environmental vehicles

When asked Horikawa about the development of the new Insight, he first decided to design a prime sedan and shared it with the team. Each department thought about how to make the car of this design possible and reduced it to actual functions and shapes. The new Insight has technically noteworthy features such as a 1.5-liter engine with a 2-motor i-MMD, all standard Honda sensing functions, a vehicle body that is responsible for quietness and running stability, and suspension technology. Horikawa says, "It's all a result of embodying design."

Horikawa says that it is likely to be compared with the Prius because of its body size and hybrid car.

"Insight is not aware of environmental vehicles. It aims to be a prime car, to be used for a long time, and to be a car that suits itself, not just an expensive car. We needed a motor i-MMD, so we installed it on a smaller Insight, and although the control mode is clearly described as 3 modes, it actually combines more complicated control modes. "

Honda switches the three modes of motor driving, hybrid driving, and engine drive mode according to driving conditions in the case of i-MMD, but it does not simply switch between motor driving in city areas and engine driving in high speeds . Powertrain control is performed with ease of driving and high-quality driving through fine control in consideration of fuel efficiency and regeneration efficiency.

Optimum design of vehicle body to improve quietness and driving performance by one rank

For high quality driving, we focused on quietness, linear and smooth acceleration and handling around the vehicle.

"I was particular about how to reduce noise and suppress fine vibrations. We used generous amounts of sound insulation and insulators to improve quietness, and optimized mounts and road input to reduce powertrain transmission vibration. By taking measures against bushes that reduce vibration, we have achieved a balance with high-quality driving performance. ”(Osamu Inaba, 7th Block, Technology Development Office 11)

Thorough measures are taken to reduce noise in the engine room. Strengthening of engine mounts and side frames, and insulators on the dashboard panel reduce noise intrusion around the engine. Insulators and shields for tire houses and floors also reduce road noise.

In Horikawa's running mode control, control is also performed to prevent the engine speed from rising rapidly on a slope. When climbing a hill, the engine speed may increase if the battery is exhausted. Even when going downhill, the battery may be fully charged and turn up due to discharge. By optimally controlling the engine rotation and motor output, it achieves a linear and smooth acceleration even on slopes and a driving feel with engine sound.

Hybrid, EV may not need shift lever

The interior is the best part of the texture. The seat material, seating comfort, instrument panel design, touch and color of each part are finished at a reasonable price. However, the button-type shift selector combines the functional characteristics and texture with the interior of Insight. This method is used in legends, but there is no lever or joystick protrusion that is common in hybrids.

"We were particular about the ease of use of the shift button. Also, eliminating the lever has improved the space efficiency around the console. In the rear seat, it was difficult to secure space due to the arrangement of the battery and gas tank. The size and comfort of the rear seats are not sacrificed. "(Yuji Saito, Technology Planning Block, Technology Development Office 10).

It seems that the button type is difficult to operate, but after switching by pressing the D button, there is no operation at all while driving.

The shift lever of an EV or hybrid car is also used to switch the regenerative braking mode. In Insight, you do this with a steering paddle. It's reasonable, and once you get used to it, the paddle selector isn't difficult to use. Even when switching between D range and P range, the shape of each button is different, so even if you operate by fumbling, there is no mistake.

Front grille is sword

The Insight is a coupe-like sedan type design, despite the boom of compact and SUVs. The exterior design seemed to have had a hard time realizing the image of the initial sketch without breaking the design.

"The exterior was designed to reproduce the concept design anyway. The difficulty was the short front overhang and the sharp shape, so we designed the engine and bonnet inside the hood in millimeters. One is the design of the front grille, which is unique to Japanese specifications.As a result of scrutinizing the image of Insight, it became a fearless line that imaged the sword (blade) which is also the traditional beauty of Japan. " 2 blocks Masahiko Ogoshi).

Although it is a sedan, it is a silhouette that is not too conservative, and the modeling from the coupe-like C pillar does not get tired with moderate claims. Typically, the gap between the concept design of the vehicle and the production technology for mass production on the line can limit final shaping. Of course, there may be legal restrictions, but Insight has a policy that does not break the basic design.

Battery relocation contributes to low center of gravity and weight distribution

Electrical components have both sides related to interior parts such as instrument panels and lighting, and parts related to exterior parts such as batteries, engine accessories, and lights.

"Insight's instrument panel uses a twin-lens meter. Although it is orthodox, I think it is a design suitable for prime cars. The steering operation switch also uses a jog dial instead of a cross key type button. You can operate the navigation audio and meters without moving it.The most difficult thing was the 12V battery.The engine and i-MMD were packed in a compact body, so it could not be placed in the engine room, so the car room It is located inside and below the center console. Fixing methods for safety, bulkheads, mechanisms for degassing, etc. are key points, but these efforts involved the production technology of the line. " Development room technical planning block Mr. Takashi Onuki).

The steering dial has a reliable operation feedback to the finger, so there is no operational error without having to check it visually. You can drive comfortably without being distracted by button operations. The location of the battery may not matter much for many drivers, but the 12V battery in the cabin, together with the battery for the EV (under the floor), contributes to a lower center of gravity and optimal weight distribution.

The low center of gravity and optimal weight distribution have benefits in driving performance. On the other hand, the maintenance of the battery replacement is a concern. In Insight, the passenger can slide the seat back to access the battery from the passenger side. The shape is the same as a commercially available battery, but it seems that a device has been devised to connect the genuine mounted battery and the outside of the vehicle with a tube to allow hydrogen gas generated during charging to escape to the outside.
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