Honda Hybrids are Parallel Hybrids which at first glance wouldn't seem to benefit much from a PHEV conversion as they don't have an EV-mode like the Toyota Prius. However by using a larger battery the 10kW IMA could be run in a constant assist mode to displace gas consumption and push the mileage well into the 100's on the freeway. The Insight is a very light and aerodynamic vehicle which makes it rather attractive for conversion. Of course, untill someone actually tries it we can't say for sure how well it would work, if at all.
PHEV Insight via MIMA
There is a MIMA Manual IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) control project which provides manual control over the IMA (Assist/Regen) on the Honda Insight. While not a PHEV project it might make it possible to utilize additional battery capacity in a Mixed-mode similar to Prius PHEVs at speeds greater than 34mph.
MIMA would allow the driver to set an Aggressive Assist type profile allowing the IMA to contribute up to 10kW of continuous power. This would rapidly deplete the stock battery which may reach empty within 5 minutes or 5 miles. Some Insight drivers may already be familiar with Recalibration Events, Recals, which are essentially the manifestation or the State Of Charge Drift portion of the vehicles battery management routines. While the most common Racals are negative and occur when the SOC reaches a lower limit, it is also possible to recalibrate or drift up if the SOC is determined to be higher than expected. Such behavior makes possible State Of Charge Manipulation by simply keeping the battery's voltage or perceived voltage near the upper limit.
Technically, as long as the lower SOC limit is not reached, MIMA makes it possible to command any desired level of IMA assistance which diminishes the importance of SOC Manipulation. Both simple and hybrid Battery Pack Configurations would be equally effective in such a conversion because of the previous point. A hybrid pack would leave the stock battery in place and might eliminate the need for a Battery Tap Emulator, yet a simple configuration replacing the NiMH pack with a superior Lithium battery would maximize energy density and keep vehicle weight well under 2000lbs. A battery charger would be required and might also double as a hybrid pack's power regulation device which could lessen the constraints on choosing a battery packs geometry (voltage, cells, or number of batteries).
We're not yet sure how this would affect your Warranty.
- 2007.09.20 - wired.com - Maximizing Honda's Insight with MIMA
Series-Parallel Insight Conversion
A local SEVA member is also working on a sort of odd Insight conversion, which is coming along rather slowly. See Ryan's PHEV Insight Project.
Swarthmore College Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team
This is a very similar project to Ryans Series-Parallel project. It is not based on the Honda Insight, but they are using e-tek motors.
Insight EV Conversion
Gary Graunke of Hillsboro, Oregon has converted his "Out-a-sight" Insight to Electric! He is using a Metric Mind Siemens 5105WS12 AC Motor, Siemens AC SIMOVERT 6SV short inverter, and the original manual transmission without the clutch. The battery pack was originally (168V) fourteen 12v 38Ah Hawker Genesis and now consists of (309V) eighty-six ThunderSky 90AH 3.6V LiIon cells, charged with a Manzanita Micro PFC50 10KW. His range was 20 miles with 9 year old Hawkers and should be 230 miles with Li-Ion. Curb Weight is 2100 pounds from the original 1850. Technically this should appear on the SEVA:Conversions page.
Electric Vehicles USA, Inc. formerly Cloud Electric appears to be getting into Hybrid Conversions, though not PHEVs.
- Honda Insight "Cloud EV" Electric Conversion
- Enginer is offering 2KWH PHEV conversion kits for pilot testers.
- IMA - Integrated Motor Assist
- MIMA - Manual IMA
- The end of the road for the Insight? Gen2 Insight Ideas!
- Peter Perkins Li-fepo4 Insight PHEV upgrade with his own BMS is now up and running!