AFS Trinity patents plug-in hybrid drive train
August 4, 2010 by John Day
AFS Trinity Power Corporation said it has patented the Extreme Hybrid drive train in its plug-in hybrid SUV. Chairman and CEO Edward W. Furia said the drive train combines ultracapacitors with other power electronics and energy storage devices, plus off-the-shelf chemical batteries. Technical details are available at http://afstrinity.com/xh/ and videos of prototype vehicles are at http://afstrinity.com/video/index.htm.
The company said it expects DOE and U.S. Congressional recognition of the technology via the full plug-in hybrid tax credit of $7500 for vehicles that use it. The tax credit is presently tied to the total energy stored in the batteries of a plug-in hybrid; however, the AFS Trinity technology makes it possible to use half as many batteries while increasing battery durability and performance through the use of ultracapacitors. The firm said this can lower the cost of the drive train, as well as the cost of the overall vehicle, by as much as one-third.
AFS Trinity said its patent provides very broad protection, covering the use of ultracapacitors, flywheels and “power batteries” used to protect the main energy storage battery bank.
Furia said the patent allows the company to license its Extreme Hybrid technology to automakers “so they can make roomy, high performance cars, trucks and SUV’s that are less expensive than the smaller, higher priced plug-ins now being promised by carmakers.”
AFS Trinity engineers said cost savings and performance gains from the firm’s Extreme Hybrid technology should increase much faster than for battery technology alone. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Donald Bender said, as an example, that ultracapacitors today cost 100 times less than they did 15 years ago.
“By seamlessly integrating ultra-capacitors into the electronic propulsion system of plug-ins, the AFS Trinity system eliminates peak electric loads on the battery caused by the frequent acceleration and braking events that are part of everyday driving,” Furia wrote in a letter to members of Congress. “This innovation allows plug-ins to travel farther on smaller, less-expensive lithium-ion batteries, while also increasing the useful life of the batteries.”
He added that ultracapacitors actively managed by AFS Trinity’s proprietary power electronics enable the firm’s prototype SUVs to accelerate from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds while achieving an overall fuel economy of 150 MPG.
The patent covers the use of ultracapacitors that extend the life of the battery pack. As a result, fewer batteries are needed and less expensive batteries can be used.