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Thread: Hybrid cars, part deux!

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    Default Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    [...]
    But congrats on your new ride, you should post periodic updates on the Insight. It's definitely the sleeper hybrid with the Prius taking all the spotlight.
    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    [...]
    Ok! I'll start a new thread for the Insight.
    There's an older hybrid thread here but it ends when Honda stopped manufacturing the 1st generation Insight. Now that the Insights are back...and I grabbed one!... and the Priuses have had their share of problems, I'm starting a new Hybrid thread; not just an Insight thread.

    JT, I agree, the Insight is a sleeper. I read almost 200 customer reviews of the car before deciding on it. So many people were wondering why Honda doesn't advertise the Insight more. I'm not sure I've ever seen an Insight commercial or print ad. I think lack of advertising is a big reason why it doesn't have it's share of the hybrid market. It's certainly priced right, imnsho.

    I have a friend who has a 2001 Insight with 150,000 miles on it. He loves it. I need to remember to ask him about the battery and whether he's had any problem with it. The battery isn't an issue for me as I'm leasing for 3 years.

    I drove the car on the freeway for the first time today and found that I was averaging 50 mpg. A couple of times I cruised at 75 mpg! Amazing! Still, it's a gutless car; little get up and go. That isn't an issue for me, either! I'm constantly challenged to tweak my driving habits to increase the mpg. Zero to 60 in 5 seconds is counter-productive to that!

    I think the Insight is still the least expensive hybrid available at several thousand less than the Prius.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    I drove the car on the freeway for the first time today and found that I was averaging 50 mpg. A couple of times I cruised at 75 mpg!
    Do you mean (mph) miles per hour, instead of (mpg) miles per gallon?

    Because of your post, this is the first time I ever took a look at the Insight. The price does look inviting.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    Do you mean (mph) miles per hour, instead of (mpg) miles per gallon?[...]
    mpG...really! I was cruising (not coasting) thru Nanakuli at a steady 28 mph and registering 75 mpg! There must be an accelerator 'sweet spot' just shy of coasting. This car is a video game on wheels! Very distracting!

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    So many people were wondering why Honda doesn't advertise the Insight more. I'm not sure I've ever seen an Insight commercial or print ad. I think lack of advertising is a big reason why it doesn't have it's share of the hybrid market.
    I agree they need to advertise, especially since the original version of the Insight (1999 to 2006) was so unpopular and got some negative press. Why? Due to one four-letter word: UGLY. Seriously ugly.
    The new ones look terrific, though!
    Congratulations, Tutu. May you enjoy years of safe (and cheap) driving.
    .
    .

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    The rear wheel skirts on the first generation Insights made the car look ugly, imo. The car would've looked so much better without them; a retro version of today's style which is so similar to the Prius. Still, the original Insight got 70 mpg. I wonder if the skirts had something to do with aerodynamics. The current lower mpg rating must have something (everything?) to do with the change in the body, therefore the aerodynamics. Just speculatin'...

    I'm looking forward to the car telling me when it needs to be serviced! For decades I've kept either a hand written or spread sheet record in the car of what was done and when and what needed to be done and when, then hoped I'd remember to look at it! Fortunately I did! Then, for my currently last car (I need to sell it!), I found a mechanic who also kept a computerized record.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Amazing that it calculates mpg as well as mph. No wonder it needs a 400+ page manual.

    BTW, my current car is older than your previous car . . . by 10 years. It's a 1985 model.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    Amazing that it calculates mpg as well as mph. No wonder it needs a 400+ page manual.
    There's an ecological driving scoring system explanation that takes up a lot of those pages!
    BTW, my current car is older than your previous car . . . by 10 years. It's a 1985 model.
    Hang on to it. It could become a collector's item shortly!!! Big bucks!

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Yes, keep us posted Tutu.

    I purchased a used Ford Escape hybrid last month. I am very pleased. I needed a car with more ground clearance and more carying capacity for Mexico than the hybrid sedans have. And I pay a penalty in fuel mileage for that "SUV" concession. Also, we have plenty of power in the 4 cyl. hybrid engine if we need it. However, I average about 38 mpg at 60/65 mph (I am not a fast driver even on CA 75 mph freeways). If I go over 65, my fuel consumption jumps dramatically.

    Every car is different and what I say should not be extrapolated to other hybrids, but if I keep my car under 2000 RPM, I get my best fuel mileage. You will find through experience where your "sweet spot" is, it depends on how your car is geared and what the electronic shift points are.

    Tutu, be cautious of the onboard fuel mileage readout. They are notoriously inaccurate. They are set to some protocol that doesn't always relate to actual mileage. I find that my onboard readout is off by as much as 10% from time to time. Sometimes it is optimistic. sometimes pessimistic, and sometimes on target. I use it as a guideline, but I always check with a calculator each time I fill up for the accurate number ( and what I posted above is accurate mileage for me).

    This has been our first hybrid vehicle and both of us love to drive it, looking at the video display and trying to "outdo" each other for fuel economy bragging rights. We are firmly commited to the concept.

    Tutu, there all kinds of games you can play to increase your mileage. One of them is to shift into "low" when coming to a stop. This will increase the "regenerating" power to the batteries and give you more electric only motivation when starting up. Also it helps to keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressures. I even overinflate my tires a bit and this gets me better mileage, however this tactic my shorten tire tread life, so be judicious.

    Remember to drive like you have a fresh egg between your foot and the accelerator! Have fun.

    maa lihe
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Congratulations on the new car, tutu!

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    [...]However, I average about 38 mpg at 60/65 mph[...]
    That's still dang good...esp. for an SUV!
    [...]I use it as a guideline, but I always check with a calculator each time I fill up for the accurate number[...]
    Ooooh...thx for the heads up.
    [...]One of them is to shift into "low" when coming to a stop. This will increase the "regenerating" power to the batteries and give you more electric only motivation when starting up.[...]
    You've just given me a good reason to use the paddle shifters! I couldn't figure out why I'd use them so now I'll give them a try!
    Quote Originally Posted by zff View Post
    Congratulations on the new car, tutu!
    Thx, zff.

    Another observation...yesterday, during my first freeway drive, I noticed that the car "danced" a little at 60-65 mph; kinda like being buffeted by wind. It was a little windy plus I'm used to a heavy, very solid car, so I didn't think too much about it. I'm still adjusting! My advice to anyone contemplating buying an Insight is to take it for a freeway test drive to see if it bothers you. It's not a major problem for me but it might be for someone else.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    You've just given me a good reason to use the paddle shifters! I couldn't figure out why I'd use them so now I'll give them a try!.
    Yes, use the paddle shifters to increase your mileage. The transmission linkage on our hybrids is electronic, not mechanical (like your 1995 beast), so you can shift at will with no worry about damaging the transmission. Just remember to paddle down in to low when you anticipate a stop ahead. You save on your brake pads by letting the transmission slow the car as well as regenerating energy into the battery pack. Paddle back up to drive when you come to a stop or you want to accelerate again. It puts the "sport" back into driving. (Don't worry about forgetting and driving in low while on the freeway at 60 mph, it wont hurt other than costing you a bit of mileage. The transmission knows that there are forgetful fools like me driving and it will over ride your error so you won't ruin the tranny.)

    I know that you, like I (I follow about 12 of them), need one more chat list to follow like a hole in the head. But here are some links to Insight chat lists that will give you all kinds of good hints:

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/dir...&model=Insight

    http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f82/

    http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f11/

    Have fun, we all jus one big ohana hea!
    Last edited by matapule; July 12th, 2010 at 01:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Thx for the chat lists, matapule. I checked one, so far, and, shoots, wish I'd known about those all along! There's some great info.

    Guess what? HT and Facebook are the only social media/chat forums I follow! No time for any more except when it's temporarily specialized!!!

    BTW...it sounds like you're edging into hypermiler territory! Gotta keep Mrs. Matapule on her toes, huh?!!! I drove my car to the end of the road this morning...Yokohama Bay. I was the only one on the road so was able to cruise at a consistant speed. I spent a couple of minutes around the 85 mpg mark with the bulk of the time at 50-60 mpg. Kinda hard to pinpoint it because the gauge (or whatever it's called) is marked at 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100. I was coasting at 100!

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    The rear wheel skirts on the first generation Insights made the car look ugly, imo. The car would've looked so much better without them; a retro version of today's style which is so similar to the Prius. Still, the original Insight got 70 mpg. I wonder if the skirts had something to do with aerodynamics. The current lower mpg rating must have something (everything?) to do with the change in the body, therefore the aerodynamics. Just speculatin'....
    Couple of variables.

    1) Yep, the rear wheel skirts may not be pretty but they do improve the aerodynamics.

    2) The method of calculating MPG was also changed to reflect more realistic driving conditions.

    3) The 1st gen Insight was a lot lighter and sported a 1 liter 3 cylinder.

    With the new fuel efficiency requirements for future cars, one area car makers will start focusing more will be making the undercarriage more aerodynamic to squeeze out more MPG.

    Anyone check out the upcoming CRZ? Already a lot of folk are comparing it to the CRX.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    [...]
    3) The 1st gen Insight was a lot lighter and sported a 1 liter 3 cylinder.[...]
    It was also a 2 seater which probably made for smaller dimensions. The 2nd gens are 5 seaters. I also like the 60/40 split on the backs of the back seat. Easier to haul junk!

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    Thx for the chat lists, matapule. I checked one, so far, and, shoots, wish I'd known about those all along! There's some great info.
    Well matapule don wanna be no-it-all

    BTW...it sounds like you're edging into hypermiler territory!
    Aw right, now you go hybrid speak. Yup, matapule go hypermiler som time.

    Gotta keep Mrs. Matapule on her toes, huh?!!!
    Hol on dea! No such ting as Mrs. Matapule, dey jus "uaifi" only. An matapule neber hab uaifi on toes, bu she hab matapule by cajones!

    I spent a couple of minutes around the 85 mpg mark
    She de lil' ol' tutu from Makuliku, go tutu, go tutu go, go tutu go!

    Bu das no way to make Amelika free from foreign oil!

    I was coasting at 100!
    Kay den, bu ebry car coas at 100, eben MacK truk

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    one area car makers will start focusing more will be making the undercarriage more aerodynamic to squeeze out more MPG..
    More truth than poetry in that. Full body pans, like on dragsters, have been around for 50 years. We will be seeing full body pans on some commercial vehicles soon, but they will be expensive!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    I also like the 60/40 split on the backs of the back seat. Easier to haul junk!
    Das whea uaifi put de matapule when she dribe! Matapule neber no it place foa "junk!"
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    [...]Aw right, now you go hybrid speak. Yup, matapule go hypermiler som time.
    I heard about hypermiling in the 90s...before hybrids were born! There were some incredible stories of people with the normal gas guzzlers who were going to extremes to up their mpg. I remember thinking how much work they were putting into it. Drafting was an important part of the process! Crazy!
    Kay den, bu ebry car coas at 100, eben MacK truk
    Well, silly, I know that!!! That's why I added a big grin smiley in my post! What'dya do with it?!

    Still impressed with your mileage with an SUV.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    I added a big grin smiley in my post! What'dya do with it?!.
    I put it in the 60/40 back seat with matapule and res of junk! Big Smiley is my fren.
    Peace, Love, and Local Grindz

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    I put it in the 60/40 back seat with matapule and res of junk! Big Smiley is my fren.
    Aha! I spent the day at the beach yesterday and not in my car. I'll look for it later this morning!!!

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Tutu try turning off the green "econ" button when you need more power on acceleration. That button will put more control on the acceleration and deceleration to give you optimal driving and regenerative charging capabilities. Turning it off allows more driver control but at a loss of fuel economy and charging.

    The Insight LX, EX and EX-with navigation vehicles were marketed later on in it's current redesign to accomodate younger buyers that wanted to make an environmental statement but couldn't afford the higher sticker price of the Toyota Prius or the Honda Civics and Accords.

    Honda sold Hybrid Accords during the 1990's but it didn't fare well on residual value so they stopped producing them. Likewise Toyota still produces their hybrid Camrys and Highlanders, but are not getting good response to them either. Too heavy to give any significant fuel savings like the Prius. As a matter of fact as early as 1975 Honda has been producing automobile engines (largest manufacture of combustion engines in the world) that met or exceeded the CARB emission standards...before CARB was inacted in California. Virtually all Hondas are ULEV, ULEV-II or PZEV vehicles. ULEV stands for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, PZEV stands for Partial Zero Emission Vehicles. The Insight is a PZEV vehicle. Regular Civics are right between ULEV and PZEV. Very environmentally friendly. )

    With the Insight, Honda keeps their marketing on it lowkey as it is not their bread and butter automobile. As a Honda sales consultant, we make very little commission on these vehicles, (under $100 at full sticker price). If you purchased your Insight EX for less than $100 below final dealer invoice. The sales consultant made absolutely nothing on that deal including the dealership. In other words...LOSS LEADER. He went straight for unit count to pull his numbers up.

    Honda sells the Insight low for one major reason...their committment to the environment. Honda will sell an Insight at a loss or break even to accomodate buyers that cannot afford a Prius or Hybrid Civic so they can jump on the environmental bandwagon.

    BTW Honda also sells CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) Civics, as well as Hydrogen-powered vehicles but keeps a low key on them as well.
    Last edited by craigwatanabe; July 16th, 2010 at 08:46 AM.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    Virtually all Hondas are ULEV, ULEV-II or PZEV vehicles. ULEV stands for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, PZEV stands for Partial Zero Emission Vehicles.
    Virtually? Aren't ALL Honda and Acuras at least ULEVs by now?

    There are a lot of unlikely ULEVs out there -- trucks, SUVs, sports cars, big luxury cars. Even my 480hp twin-turbo Nissan hot rod is a ULEV (which I was very surprised to discover). It's amazing how much internal-combustion technology has advanced, and Honda, IMHO, makes some of the best engines in the world. I wouldn't be surprised if their lawn mowers are ULEVs.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    [...]
    Another observation...yesterday, during my first freeway drive, I noticed that the car "danced" a little at 60-65 mph; kinda like being buffeted by wind. It was a little windy plus I'm used to a heavy, very solid car, so I didn't think too much about it. I'm still adjusting! My advice to anyone contemplating buying an Insight is to take it for a freeway test drive to see if it bothers you. It's not a major problem for me but it might be for someone else.
    Update! The "dancing" did not repeat itself during my 2nd freeway drive. I still recommend the freeway test drive, tho'.
    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    I put it in the 60/40 back seat with matapule and res of junk! Big Smiley is my fren.
    Eureka! It was under the passenger seat!
    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    Tutu try turning off the green "econ" button when you need more power on acceleration. That button will put more control on the acceleration and deceleration to give you optimal driving and regenerative charging capabilities. Turning it off allows more driver control but at a loss of fuel economy and charging.[...]
    Thx, Craig. For my normal day to day driving I don't need more powerful acceleration. I think I'd rather have fuel economy. I did need to accelerate like a wild woman during a potential accident, however. I was able to avoid the situation and wonder if ESC helped me thru it during a very quick left turn onto a cross street. No way to know, I guess.

    Another idiosyncrasy is, during a certain time of day (around noon), the top of the dashboard is lightly reflected in the windshield causing slight visual diffusion. This obviously has to do with the position of the sun and more than likely is not specific to Insights. My guess is any car, Prius' included, with that degree of windshield slant will encounter the same issue. Do any Prius owners wish to chime in?

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Speaking of the Insight's Econ button that Craig mentioned above...with it "on", the car goes into super efficiency mode which increases the mpg. The "on" position also affects the A/C which doesn't cool as well as when Econ is off. Still, for the 10 days I've had the car I've kept Econ "on" and the A/C has been completely acceptable. 'Til today!!! It's hot and humid so found it necessary to turn Econ off. It didn't take long at all to feel a change in the temperature. I like having the on or off option.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    ...Honda sold Hybrid Accords during the 1990's but it didn't fare well on residual value so they stopped producing them. Likewise Toyota still produces their hybrid Camrys and Highlanders, but are not getting good response to them either. Too heavy to give any significant fuel savings like the Prius. ....
    I thought the Accord hybrid was sold in the mid 2000s?

    I don't think it has anything to do with being too heavy that offset any significant fuel savings. I think they tried too hard to make the hybrid versions have the same or better performance specs as the conventional models. For instance, they could have used a 4 cylinder with electric motors for the Accord hybrid but they decided to retain a 6. The Accord hybrid could do 0-60 in 6.7. I think the Prius is a 10 second car.

    I wish they would produce hybrid minivans. Would seem to make the most sense in terms of practicality.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by zff View Post
    Virtually? Aren't ALL Honda and Acuras at least ULEVs by now?

    There are a lot of unlikely ULEVs out there -- trucks, SUVs, sports cars, big luxury cars. Even my 480hp twin-turbo Nissan hot rod is a ULEV (which I was very surprised to discover). It's amazing how much internal-combustion technology has advanced, and Honda, IMHO, makes some of the best engines in the world. I wouldn't be surprised if their lawn mowers are ULEVs.
    I thought I saw somewhere in the product brochures that the Element may not be ULEV. I'll double check.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    I thought the Accord hybrid was sold in the mid 2000s?

    I don't think it has anything to do with being too heavy that offset any significant fuel savings. I think they tried too hard to make the hybrid versions have the same or better performance specs as the conventional models. For instance, they could have used a 4 cylinder with electric motors for the Accord hybrid but they decided to retain a 6. The Accord hybrid could do 0-60 in 6.7. I think the Prius is a 10 second car.

    I wish they would produce hybrid minivans. Would seem to make the most sense in terms of practicality.
    Correct, it was the Insight that came out in the 90's. Having a hybrid minivan would be great but probably engineering hurdles kept it at bay. As for Honda's hybrid vehicles, they use a single motor inline with the engine and tranny as opposed to several motors. There had to be a reason why they retained a 6cyl for their power distribution as opposed to a 4cyl.

    Coming out this fall will be the new CR-Z hybrid vehicle. A little sporty and a little hybrid in one vehicle. Nothing too sporty though but kinda interesting vehicle.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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