|I visited Mike to have him help me with the new plug in installation and the actual work took no longer than three hours with no glitches. I probably could have done it myself, and certainly could now having done one but was close enough to drive up there. |
In general, I tend to drive my Insight (and my 2002 Honda Civic Hybrid) using the assist as little as possible. I've found this is by far the best way to get the best mileage. Before Mima I rarely used the electric part of the car unless a situation forced me to which the Honda computer does far more often than you actually need it. Now, with Mima, I switch on the ABC button, which totally cancels out the assist and regeneration unless I call for it with the joy stick. I drive around like this until I get up to cruising speed. Although not fast, the gas engine has more than enough power to be driven this way. Once I get the car up to say 40 - 55 MPH and it start lean burning at say 100 MPG, I cruise at that speed. Before Mima when I would hit a slight incline in lean burn the Mileage would drop significantly. Now I just hit the electric assist with the joy stick and the car stays right at 100 MPG. The other day I drove 40 mile round trip commutr and averaged 107 MPG using this technique with Mima. This was with little traffic, averaging the speed limit of 45, with three lights and some hills). These numbers would have been impossible without Mima which allowed me to stay up in lean burn where as previously the car would not have assisted me in 5th gear with such low rpms.
Because I now control the assist the car has more power when I need it. This a wonderful when pulling out at a busy intersection or passing someone. With mima you have all the power you need when you want it. I had an interesting experience with this returning back to New York after the install with Mike. I was climbing a large hill on the Mass Pike in 5th gear with a fair amount of traffic. About halfway up my speed began to slow and I noticed a large semi bearing down on me. There was too much traffic for it to pull out around me. My primary reason for driving an Insight is for conservation reasons so I knew that if I killed the trucks momentum it was going to waste a lot more fuel than what I would personally save by continuing to crawl up the hill in 5th gear. It could also be potentially dangerous if the trucker wasn't paying attention. Before he reached me, I jammed the assist on full with Mima and in a relatively short time I had the car back up to 75 Miles Per Hour leaving plenty of room between myself and the truck. This maneuver drained a lot of my battery which I easily recharged using Mima down the other side of the hill. Before Mima I would have had to down shift and still would not have been able to bring my speed up to a level that would buffer myself from the truck. The car can actually feel like a sports car when you want it to, although I tend to drive the most efficient way I can which is not by racing around with the electric assist.
In summary, if you own an Insight and want to get the most out of it, the cost of Mima is small compared to the tremendous benefits. I also own a 2002 Honda Civic Hybrid with over 100,000 miles on it and it is very frustrating to drive these days without the Mima option. I am just waiting for Mike to come up with an extra, lightweight plug in battery system so I can use Mima to get my mileage up over 120 MPG which should easily be attainable when you don't have to worry about draining the batty with the assist.
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