Honda Insight

Honda Insight

Infobox Automobile
name = Honda Insight

manufacturer = Honda
production = First-gen: 1999–2006
Second-gen: 2010–
sp = us
The Honda Insight is a hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by Honda in its first generation as a three-door hatchback from model years 2000 to 2006. The original Insight employed hybrid electric engine technology, optimized aerodynamics and a lightweight aluminum structure to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions.

Honda has announced the second generation Insight, a five-door hybrid — scheduled for a 2009 introduction. [] Cite news |title=Honda introduces new Prius fighter |author=Peter Valdes-Dapena |work=CNN Money |date=2008-09-04 |url=]

First generation

Infobox Automobile generation
name = First generation Honda Insight

manufacturer = Honda
parent_company =
aka =
production = 1999–2006
assembly = Suzuka, Mie, Japan
predecessor =
successor = Honda Civic Hybrid
class = subcompact
body_style = 3-door hatchback
layout = Front-engine, front-wheel drive
platform =
engine = Gasoline: convert|995|cc|cuin|abbr=on lean-burn I3 12-valve SOHC
Electric: 144 volt 10 kW
transmission = 5-speed manual Continuously variable transmission
wheelbase = convert|2400|mm|in|abbr=on
length = convert|3945|mm|in|abbr=on
width = convert|1695|mm|in|abbr=on
height = convert|1355|mm|in|abbr=on
weight = "Manual w/o AC" convert|838|kg|lb|abbr=on
"Manual w/ AC" convert|852|kg|lb|abbr=on
"CVT w/ AC" convert|891|kg|lb|abbr=on
fuel_capacity =
electric_range =
related =
designer =
sp = us


The Insight was introduced in 1999, two years after the Toyota Prius.Cite news |title=On the Insight track; Honda augments a three-banger with an electrified flywheel |author=K.A.W. |work=AutoWeek |page=27 |date=1999-12-06]

Total global sales for the Insight amounted to only around 18,000.Cite news|title=The Once and Future Mileage King |author=Jerry Garrett |work=The New York Times |date=2006-08-27 |url=]

Sales of hybrids in Europe were even lower than in America because of the popularity and infrastructure to support diesel cars in Europe. "The Economist" wrote: "The beauty of hybrids is that they do not require changes in driver behaviour or fuel infrastructure."cite news |title=Why the future is hybrid |work=The Economist |date=2004-12-04]


The Honda Insight was a subcompact hatchback convert|3945|mm|in|1|abbr=on in length with a wheelbase of convert|2400|mm|in|1|abbr=on a height of convert|1355|mm|in|1|abbr=on and a width of convert|1695|mm|in|1|abbr=on. The Insight was only available as a two-seater. Only three different trims were available: a manual transmission without air-conditioning, a manual transmission with air-conditioning, and a continuously variable transmission with air-conditioning. Although produced until 2006, the only major change was the introduction of a trunk mounted, front controlled, multiple CD changer.

One key in increasing the vehicle's fuel efficiency was reducing the mass via the extensive use of aluminum and plastic. Honda built the insight with aluminum front brake calipers and rear brake drums; the fuel tank was plastic; the engine mounts were aluminum; and the exhaust was a small, thin wall pipe. The Insight weighed convert|1847|lb|kg|abbr=on in manual transmission form or convert|891|kg|lb|0|abbr=on with CVT and air conditioning. The combination of materials and design gave the Insight body structure 13 percent more bending strength and 38 percent more torsional rigidity than a comparably-sized steel body, despite weighing 40 percent less.

The flat back of the Insight was similar to the CRX, while the broad, rounded hood resembled the design of the Honda Civic.Cite news |title=Honda's Hybrid; Comes in Green, Batteries Included |author=Paul Dean |work=Los Angeles Times |date=1999-10-21] The shape of the Insight was considered too unusual by some drivers, much like GM's EV1. "The New York Times" wrote that the Honda Insight and the EV1 "suggested Popeye's pal, Olive Oyl, in her ankle-length dress. The rear fender skirts seemed frumpy."Cite news |title=Once Frumpy, Green Cars Start Showing Some Flash |author=Phil Patton |work=The New York Times | url= |date=2007-07-15]


The gasoline engine is a convert|70|hp|kW PS|abbr=on, 1-liter, 3-cylinder unit providing lean burn operation with an air fuel ratio that can reach 25.8 to 1 [] . The electrical motor assist adds in another convert|10|kW|hp|abbr=on when called on, and similarly provides significant deceleration when used in regenerative mode for braking. (This both improves fuel efficiency and also dramatically extends the lifetime of brakes). When the car is not moving, for example, at a stop light, the engine shuts off. The digital displays on the dashboard display fuel consumption instantaneously. On the manual transmission up and down arrows suggest when to shift gears.The Insight uses the first generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology. (The next generation, used in the Honda Civic Hybrid, is much more space-efficient.) The Insight has a 3-cylinder convert|1.0|L|cuin|abbr=on engine and a brushless 10-kW electric motor located on the crankshaft. Located behind the seats are a series of commercial grade "D" sized NiMH batteries wired to provide a nominal 144 V DC. During heavy acceleration, up to 100 Amps are pulled from the NiMH batteries, the electric motor provides additional power; during deceleration, the motor acts as a generator and recharges the batteries using a process called regenerative braking, charging them with up to 50 Amps of current. A computer control module regulates how much power comes from the internal combustion engine, and how much from the electric motor; in the CVT variant, it also finds the optimal gear ratio. Dashboard gauges monitor the current battery, instantaneous fuel consumption and mode of the electric motor — standby, engine assist or charging the batteries.

High pressure, low rolling resistance tires and the use of low viscosity "0w-20" synthetic oil both enhance fuel economy.

The original Insight had a conventional manual transmission. Starting with the 2001 model, a CVT variant of the Insight was available; the CVT is similar to that used in the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda Logo. A feature shared by the two hybrids (and now appearing in others) is the ability to automatically turn off the engine when the vehicle is at a stop (and restart it upon movement). Since it is more powerful than most starters of conventional cars, the Insight's electric motor can start the engine nearly instantaneously.

The Integrated Motor Assist is run by an "Intelligent Power Unit (IPU)", a desktop computer-sized box. The Intelligent Power Unit, the Power control Unit, the Electronic Control Unit, the vehicle's batteries, converter and a high-voltage inverter are all located under the cargo floor of the vehicle, behind the seats.

To maximize fuel efficiency, the Insight was very aerodynamic. The Insight had one of the lowest coefficients of drag of any marketed automobile giving it a coefficient of 0.25.

The Insight was available with a manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A traditional transmission shifts between a fixed set of engine-to-wheel ratios; however, a CVT allows for an infinite set of ratios between its lowest gear and its highest. The CVT-equipped Insight was classified as a super-low emissions vehicle.Cite news |title=Of belts and pulleys and cones: The continuously variable transmission shifts into the mainstream |url=|work=AutoWeek |date=2001-12-10 |page=14]

The Insight features low emissions: the California Air Resources Board gave the 5-speed model a ULEV rating, and the CVT model earned a SULEV rating. (The 5-speed's lean-burn ability is a trade-off which increases efficiency at the expense of slightly higher NOx emissions.)


The Insight was assembled at the Honda factory in Suzuka, Japan, where the Honda NSX and the Honda S2000 are also assembled. The Insight and the NSX are aluminum bodies, while the S2000 employs a steel body.

At the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, Honda introduced the concept car Honda IMAS, an extremely fuel-efficient and lightweight hybrid car made of aluminum and carbon fiber, which was perceived by most observers to be the future direction where the Insight is heading.

In May 2006, Honda announced the end of Insight production in September 2006. According to Honda, it will be replaced by a new hybrid car smaller than the eighth generation Civic. While year round production of the Insight would stop in 2006, limited production during the winter would continue as necessary, presumably for parts. The Insight was designed as a real world test car for hybrid technology and to gauge driving habits.cite news |url= |title=Honda Kills the Insight |work=AutoWeek |date=2006-05-17 |accessdate=2008-01-10 |author=James B. Treece and Lindsay Chappell]


The Insight was the first mass-produced hybrid automobile sold in the United States, achieving convert|70|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp per its then current United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway rating. The Insight's hybrid technology combines an internal combustion engine and an electric motor with rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride cells, however, was introduced at a price of just under USD|20,000. Other hybrids soon followed, with the Toyota Prius arriving in June 2000. Honda rolled out a hybrid version of the Honda Civic in 2002, followed by Toyota's relaunch of the Prius in 2003.

Fuel efficiency

The car remained the most fuel efficient machine available in the U.S. while it was produced and is still the leader of any current mass market car. The Insight earned an EPA fuel efficiency estimate of convert|70|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp in highway driving, convert|61|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp|abbr=on city. With air conditioning it was convert|66|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp|abbr=on/convert|60|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp|abbr=on. With a CVT it was convert|57|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp|abbr=on/convert|56|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp|abbr=on. Insight aficionados, the more extreme of whom are called "hypermilers", compete to eke out as many miles as possible from a tank.

Upon the Insight's release, Honda challenged several automotive magazines to a competition to see who could obtain the best fuel efficiency on the convert|195|mi|km|sing=on drive from Columbus, Ohio to Detroit. The contest was won by "Car and Driver" magazine, which rigged a box behind an SUV, and had the Insight drive within the confines of the box. Without any wind resistance, the Insight made the trip with a fuel consumption of convert|121.7|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp, while averaging convert|58|mi/h|km/h. A two-year test of an Insight with air conditioning, driven convert|40000|mi|km, averaged convert|48|mpgus|L/100 km mpgimp.

Usage incentives

Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in the United States, the Honda Insight was eligible for a USD|1,450 tax credit.Cite news |title=Hybrid Hustle; Hop to it for best tax breaks |author=Dave Chess |work=AutoWeek |url= |date=2006-08-28 |page=4]

In California, the state with the most-stringent fuel economy standards, the manual-transmission Insight was rated as an ultra-low-emission vehicle and the CVT transmission was rated Super-ultra-low-emission vehicle.Cite news |title=Honda Insight; High-Mileage, High-Stakes Hybrid |author=Andrew Pollack |work=The New York Times | url= |date=2000-06-04]

Replacement battery pack

As of October 2006, Honda was paying the replacement cost of these batteries on cars with up to convert|150000|mi|km of use.Fact|date=April 2008 As of 1 June 2008, the replacement battery costs USD|1,968 and installation is around USD|900.cite news |url= |title=Assaulted Batteries |work=Newsweek |date=2008-05-27 |accessdate=2008-06-09 |author=Keith Naughton]

As of 2008, independent mechanics have been known to replace Insight batteries with either Prius sub-packs or Civic Hybrid subpacks. A USD|300 used NiMH battery from another more mass produced HEV can be used to build a replacement Insight battery pack. Other independent mechanics have been reconditioning their old Insight battery packs to correct wear and tear issues. Reconditioning allows correction of some issues at lower cost than rebuilding a replacement pack from other used packs.Fact|date=July 2008

econd generation

Infobox Automobile generation
name = Second-generation Honda Insight

manufacturer = Honda
parent_company =
aka =
production = 2010
assembly = Suzuka, Mie, Japan
predecessor =
successor =
class = compact
body_style = 5-door hatchback
layout = front-engine, front-wheel drive
platform =
engine =
transmission =
wheelbase =
length =
width =
height =
weight =
fuel_capacity =
electric_range =
related =
designer =
sp = us
On 4 September 2008, Honda revived the Insight name and announced the second generation Honda Insight in the form of a 5-door hatchback.cite web |url= |title="Paris Preview: Officially Official, Honda's new hybrid is the Insight!" |accessdate=2008-09-04 |last=Abuelsamid |first=Sam |date=2008-09-04 |format=HTML |work=Autoblog |publisher=Weblogs, Inc. |language=English] The concept vehicle made its public debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. [cite web |last=Cunningham |first=Wayne | title="New Honda Insight no Prius-killer" | work="CNet" |url= |accessedate=2008-10-11] [cite web|url= | title="Full reveal: 2010 Honda Insight Concept" |date=2008-10-02 | work="Left Lane News" |accessdate=2009-10-11 ] One report suggests that the EPA city fuel efficiency rating for the new Insight is expected to be similar to that of the Honda Civic Hybrid at about mpg|40, [cite web | title="Take That, Prius! Honda Insight Pricing Will Start Near $19,000" | last=Streiber |first=Andrew| date=2008-10-02| accessdate=2008-10-11| url=] with another report stating that fuel consumption is likely to be in excess of Mpg (Imperial)|80, with CO2 emissions of around 80 g/km.

The new Insight is expected to go on sale in April 2009. [] [] Honda is planning for worldwide sales of 200,000 units a year with 100,000 going to the U.S. market alone. Honda also plans to make other models of the hybrid, such as a sports car, and plans to sell 500,000 hybrids a year world-wide by next decade. [Murphy, John, and Kate Linebaugh. "Honda's Hybrid Will Take On Toyota Prius." Wall Street Journal 1 Oct. 2008: B1+.] Honda did not release the exact numbers on how much Insight will cost but estimates suggest that in the U.S. it will be between USD|19,000 and USD|22,000. ["The New Honda Insight" Hybrid Cars. 1 Oct. 2008 .] The UK price is expected to be about GBP|15,000.cite news |title=New Honda Insight |date=2008-09-04 |publisher=Haymarket Media Group |work=Autocar magazine |url= |accessdate=2008-10-09]


The Insight's engine won the International Engine of the Year award for 2000, and continued to hold the "Sub-1 liter" size category for the next six years. The Insight was nominated for the "North American Car of the Year" award for 2001.


External links

* [, Independent Honda Insight Website]

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