A plug-in hybrid that goes from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds, capable of getting 81% of Americans through the day on nothing but electricity–but equally capable of hitting the open road for a gas-powered road-trip? That’s AFS Trinity’s dream, and one that recently stepped closer to reality with the announcement that the company has been awarded a patent for its Extreme Hybrid drive train.
This drive train combines ultracapacitors and other power electronics and energy storage devices with off-the-shelf chemical batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles, essentially solving the battery storage problem that’s plagued electric vehicle automakers for so long. While the new technology is expected to add only about $8,500 to the price-tag of a new vehicle (after projected tax credits), AFS claims that these costs will be offset by reduced pain at the pump in about three years.
About those tax credits: the company expects the U.S. Department of Energy and Congress to recognize the cost, safety and performance benefits of the new technology in the form of the full plug-in hybrid tax credit of $7500 to vehicles using this breakthrough technology. We say expects because although the existing tax credit is presently tied to the total energy stored in the batteries of a plug-in hybrid, AFS’ drive train uses half as many batteries as today’s vehicles (while apparently increasing durability and performance) through the use of ultracapacitors.
“What good is accomplished building cars that have the potential to reduce oil dependence or carbon emissions if they would have to cost $40,000 to $100,000 and only a small percentage of drivers can afford them?, said AFS Trinity Chief Executive Officer Edward W. Furia in a statement.” What we need is a plug-in most people can afford and, just as important, truly desire [in terms of] room and performance. That’s exactly what can be accomplished by the technology that the U.S. Patent Office has issued AFS Trinity a patent for, and we intend to offer this technology to any carmaker that shares this vision.”