AFS Trinity Files New Patents for Plug-in Drivetrain

September 13, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

AFS Trinity Power Corp. announced that it has filed a new patent application that could make paying more to own a hybrid car a thing of the past.

Edward Furia, CEO of AFS Trinity, commented, "Mileage savings obtained from driving conventional hybrids are not large enough to offset their higher purchase prices that are linked to their expensive battery packs. Battery cost becomes even more important for plug-in hybrids. By providing much higher mileage and using low-cost batteries, AFS Trinity expects its Extreme Hybrid™ drive train to make possible the first money-saving hybrid vehicles of any kind. Drivers should expect the Extreme Hybrid™ to pay for itself in five years or less depending on your driving habits and the future price of gasoline."

AFS Trinity's Extreme Hybrid™ drive train will be used in plug-in hybrid vehicles that can be recharged at night and then drive up to 40 miles on electric power alone. Unlike some of today's prototype plug-in hybrids and conversions, the Extreme Hybrid™ will be able to drive in all-electric mode at highway speeds. Its all-electric range will cover the commuting needs of most American drivers, resulting in no gasoline use during their daily trips to and from work. Once the all-electric range is exceeded, the Extreme Hybrid™ will operate like today's conventional hybrids by using its gasoline or diesel engine in combination with electric power, thereby extending its range to 500 miles or more.

The Extreme Hybrid™ differs from other plug-in hybrid designs in significant ways, including that it uses ultracapacitors in combination with lithium-ion batteries so that the batteries can be both charged and deep-discharged without overheating or becoming less reliable. Instead of the batteries delivering the short bursts of power needed for acceleration, the ultracapacitors do this work. The ultracaps also capture the regenerative braking energy from stopping and driving down hills. The ultracaps make possible the use of the lower-cost lithium-ion batteries, further described above, that are optimized for energy delivery, not power delivery. Such energy batteries are both lighter and less expensive than the power batteries used in other hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle designs.

The recent patent filing is the latest addition to AFS Trinity's extensive intellectual property portfolio, which includes the first XH™ patent application originally provisionally filed in the U.S. in May 2005, and filed again as a non-provisional U.S. and international patent application in May 2006. This patent covered the Fast Energy Storage™ components of the Extreme Hybrid™ drive train and its ability to supply power back to the grid for load following or voltage stability (so-called V2G application).

Furia said the company is in discussions with major auto makers and other entities within and outside the U.S. regarding building the first XH™ prototypes.