Frequently Asked Questions

Presentation to U.S. DOE Click here to download (PDF) a detailed presentation developed for the U.S. Department of Energy.
AFS Trinity Patent Click here to view text of U.S. Patent 7,740,902—issued to AFS Trinity Power Corporation on June 22, 2010—which recognizes AFS Trinity's technology for the controlled combination of ultracapacitors and batteries in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle applications (from the official U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web site). To download a PDF of the patent, including text, claims and drawings, click here.


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company


CATEGORY: Availability


Can I buy this car? When? Not yet. We hope that there will be a production model available in 2-3 years. We are in discussions with auto makers and tier one suppliers who have an interest in this system.

Are you considering producing these cars or similar vehicles? Our preferred outcome is to license our patented XH™ technology to automakers and have them produce and distribute the vehicles. We are also considering other alternatives.

Can you retrofit existing vehicles with XH technology? Yes, virtually any consumer or commercial vehicle could be retrofitted, but we are not currently planning to offer that service. We are actively exploring the possibility of retrofitting fleets of several kinds of vehicles and and we would do so if an end-user organization and/or auto maker showed sufficient interest.

Who is this car intended for? This technology can be deployed in almost any type of consumer or commercial vehicle— from sedans to SUVs to multistop delivery vehicles. Only long distance trucks would be excluded. The reason we decided to demonstrate it first in an SUV is because, but for their poor fuel economy, SUVs were extremely popular for consumers and businesses. We expect they will become very popular again when their fuel economy is 150 MPG and their performance equals or exceeds traditional SUVs.

Can I sign up to receive information about ordering when production plans are announced? Many people who have seen or driven one of the prototypes have asked to be notified when production plans are announced. In response, AFS Trinity has established a sign-up list that will entitle you to be among the first to receive more information about ordering an Extreme Hybrid SUV when AFS Trinity announces production plans and the company and/or its licensees can accept firm orders. This sign-up list creates no obligation for you or AFS Trinity, but helps us in planning and getting closer to producing an affordable vehicle for you and your family, company or organization. Click here (or the sign-up button below) to return to the home page where you can sign up.


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company

CATEGORY: Technology


What is the Extreme Hybrid™? The Extreme Hybrid™ is a plug-in hybrid vehicle made by any carmaker that licenses the patented AFS Trinity Extreme Hybrid™ technology to replace the battery pack. The Extreme Hybrid™ energy storage system employs batteries and ultracapacitors as well as the proprietary control electronics to manage them. A more detailed presentation developed for the U.S. Department of Energy is available here in pdf file format.

What is the new AFS Trinity patent? U.S. Patent 7,740,902--issued June 22, 2010--recognizes AFS Trinity's technology for the controlled combination of ultracapacitors and batteries for use in the plug-in hybrid vehicle application. The full text including claims is available here. Click here to download a PDF of the patent including drawings.

Why didn't this technology emerge earlier? A variety of technical development factors have converged in recent years. Most important of these is that ultracapacitors cost 100 times more 15 years ago than they do today to do the same job. Also, control electronics had to be developed to make the union of batteries and ultracapacitors practical.

Isn't this car a Saturn Vue? This was a 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline, which we converted to an Extreme Hybrid™ by custom fitting it with Lithium Ion Batteries, Ultracapacitors, a Motor Generator, our patented Power Electronics and Controls, and other parts. We did this to show automakers that they do not have to wait for new battery developments in order to create plugin hybrids that can go 40 miles on an overnight plug in charge. They can do this today by utilizing current lithium batteries protected within an AFS Trinity Fast Energy™ system.

Do I need to change anything in my garage to use the Plug in feature? No – nearly all garages are equipped with a standard 110 Volt power plug, and this is all you will need to recharge the vehicle overnight. Additionally, you will be able to use a 220 Volt plug (such as you use for a clothes dryer) to charge the batteries in four hours, i.e. 3 times as quickly.

Can you switch to the gas engine "on-the-fly"? (i.e. without stopping the car?) Yes, the system will automatically switch to the gas engine when the electrical system needs a recharge or you can manually switch on the fly.

How often will I have to replace the batteries or other parts? Under normal driving habits the batteries will last for 10 years or 150,000 miles. Other auto parts used in the system will last as they do in today's cars.

Can the batteries recharge while you're driving? The batteries will recharge slightly from regenerative braking and coasting as they do in today's hybrids, but we do not expect very much extension of range under normal driving conditions.

What does Fast Energy mean? Fast Energy™ is the product of the Extreme Hybrid™ system: rapid energy exchange previously not otherwise possible in all driving conditions without life-shortening and potentially dangerous damage to the battery from high current. Fast Energy refers to our unique, patented system of fast energy storage and delivery, comprised of off the shelf lithium ion batteries and ultracapacitors, actively managed by AFS Trinity's proprietary power and control electronics module and software. You can get an in-depth explanation from the 3D Extreme Hybrid Animation by clicking here.

What is the role and relative importance of the Power and Control Electronics Module and software in the dual energy storage system? It actively manages the state of charge, power and energy of the ultracaps and batteries. Think of this subsystem as a kind of Grand Central Station and Mission Control rolled into one. Virtually every movement of energy to or from every component in the system must first go through the Power and Control Electronics module, insuring optimum balance among all energy and power components.

What is a Capacitor, How does it work? A capacitor is an electronics device that stores energy as a battery does, but a capacitor can take in energy and let out energy very quickly, in our case giving the car fast acceleration without stressing the batteries. It allows the use of pure energy batteries such as are already available today.

Do your ultracapacitors contain nasty materials like cadmium? No - as is required by RoHS-Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Union, effective July 1st, 2006, which restricts the use of particular materials in electrical/electronics equipment, the ultracapacitors used by AFS Trinity in the XH-150 do not contain any of the following materials: Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent chromium, Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE), or Polybrominated phenyls (PBB). Additionally, our ultracaps have "UL component recognition" and are manufactured to current ISO certification.


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company

CATEGORY: Battery Testing


AFS Trinity claims a 150,000-mile useful life for its battery/ultracap system. What is this based on? The claimed 150,000 miles useful life is based on ten months of extensive and continuous physical testing by America's leading independent battery testing laboratory, Mobile Power Solutions of Beaverton, Oregon. This laboratory subjected AFS Trinity's dual energy storage system of lithium ion batteries and ultracapacitors to a demanding duty cycle simulating an urban/highway driving cycle with strong and frequent high current demands. Such a driving cycle was meant to subject the batteries to the kind of strong and frequent loads that the energy storage system would be subjected to by an aggressive driver— think New York or Paris cabby or your teenager. The AFS Trinity system delivered more than 3,800 duty cycles before the batteries reached end-of-life. Each cycle represents a full charge and discharge. Assuming that each charge can deliver sufficient power to propel a vehicle for 40 miles, this represents 152,000 miles, which we rounded down to 150,000.

AFS Trinity also reports that the same lithium ion batteries, used alone, without ultracapacitors, would have a useful life of only approximately 25,000 miles. What is this based on? During the same testing program, Mobile Power Systems took the same brand and type of lithium ion batteries as were used in the tests described above and subjected three different sets of them to the identical duty cycle as was used in the tests of the combined battery/ultracap system, but in these tests, they were used alone, unprotected by the ultracapacitors. In these tests the batteries reached end-of-life in 500 to 600 full charge/discharge cycles, equivalent to approximately 25,000 miles of demanding use. Again, this was an aggressive driving profile with frequent, strong current demands, as it would not make sense to conduct such battery tests positing a conservative driver who avoids strong and frequent acceleration events, as in the real world this would not always be possible.

How do the 25,000-mile duty cycle findings above contrast to the longer battery life reported by, for example, Toyota Prius owners? The Toyota Prius hybrid uses nickel metal hybride batteries, not lithium ion. Demand on the batteries in the Prius is kept low because acceleration is provided by the gasoline engine. Nickel metal hydride Prius hybrids and aftermarket plug-in conversions of the Prius can be driven only a few miles in all electric mode and cannot operate over 34 miles per hour in all electric mode. AFS Trinity technology makes it practical to use higher energy density, off-the-shelf lithium ion batteries and to achieve longer all-electric range and much longer battery life.

You say that your tests were based on a "demanding" driving cycle. Would tests using a less demanding driving cycle demonstrate longer life for your dual energy system or for lithium ion batteries used alone? Although we did not conduct such tests for either system, we can comfortably say that the more gentle the duty cycle, i.e. the less demanding the driver, the longer the useful life of the batteries. If, for example, the gasoline engine were used for acceleration instead of the batteries via the electric motor, far less stress would be placed on the batteries and longer battery life would be expected. However, this defeats the energy and cost saving advantages of all-electric mode and plug-in hybrids in general. Also, driving profiles that are based only on very low acceleration would also extend battery life. The AFS Trinity technology was developed so that practical plug-in hybrids could be built for all types of drivers.

Would it be possible for reliable and cost effective lithium ion or other batteries to be developed that would be able to handle the kind of demanding plug in hybrid driving cycle you describe in these FAQs without having to protect the batteries with ultracapacitors? This is the "Holy Grail" that has been pursued, thus far unsuccessfully, by other plug in developers. Even with batteries that seem able to handle the high current demands of a plugin, issues of durability, reliability and cost still remain to be overcome. AFS Trinity wishes all other plug in hybrid developers success in this quest. This is a tent big enough for many players, and the twin goals of reducing US dependence on oil and reducing climate change related to transportation are well worth the effort by all of us.


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company

CATEGORY: Social / Political / Industry


How does this type of car affect the need for imported oil? If 80% of gas powered cars on the road were replaced by AFS Trinity's XH™ drivetrain, our dependence on foreign oil could be reduced by as much as 75%. See Oil Consumption Model here.

Even though Extreme Hybrids, when operated in EV mode, are zero emission vehicles, isn't it true that coal power plants (which are often used to produce electricity) can produce just as much or more pollution and CO2 as gas-only cars? No. Even if XH™ cars were powered exclusively by the dirtiest coal available they would still have much lower emissions than conventional cars. Moreover, there are many places where electricity is generated by hydro power, nuclear power and increasingly, by renewable energy sources such as wind turbines. The trend is for electricity to be generated more and more by renewables. Visit these sites for specific information about how plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles and the power plants that charge them produce significanty less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles.
www.greyfalcon.net/plugins3.png
www.pluginamerica.org/images/EmissionsSummary.pdf
www.greencarcongress.com/2007/12/argonne-assesse.html
www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/energystorage/pdfs/42026.pdf
www.aceee.org/pubs/t061.htm
www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6DnoWbMYMk
Also see the Salon.com article by Joseph Romm, "The Car of the Future is Here."


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company

CATEGORY: Cost


What is the cost of using Extreme Hybrid™ technology? Savings are achieved that total up to half the cost of using batteries alone? The cost benefit of the Extreme Hybrid approach is increasing faster than the cost gains in batteries alone and is expected to continue outpacing battery-only approaches.

How does the Extreme Hybrid™ technology reduce costs? Three ways. First, far fewer batteries are required. Second, less expensive batteries can be used. Third, batteries last longer. More details of savings are available in a presentation developed for the U.S. Department of Energy available here in pdf file format.

How much will it cost to plug in the car if I only drive in the electric mode? About $1/day or $7.56/week. You can take a closer look at the numbers on our XH-150™ Performance Comparison chart available here.

What’s the cost difference between electricity and gasoline? We estimate weekly gas cost, based on driving 320 miles per week, of $7.93 and weekly electricity cost of $7.56, for a total weekly fuel cost of $15.49. You can take a closer look at the numbers on our XH-150™ Performance Comparison chart available here.

Will my charging costs depend on where I live and my other electric usage? Yes. Electricity prices and your other electric usage will determine your cost.

If I travel as you said, 40 miles per day during the week and twice as far (80 miles) on one weekend day, what is my mileage cost compared to an all gas car? Total fuel cost would be $15.49/week compared to roughly $50/week for comparable hybrid SUVs. You can take a closer look at the numbers on our XH-150™ Performance Comparison chart available here.

How much will a car like this cost? We estimate the XH™ drive train will add an additional $8,700 to the retail price of the vehicle without the drive train. In the case of the Saturn Vue, which is roughly $22,000, the XH™ version would cost about $31,000.

Will I have to replace the batteries? Based on 300 complete battery discharges per year, the useful life of the batteries would be about 10 years or 3,000 cycles or 120,000 electric miles. You would more likely elect to get a new car than replace the batteries.


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company

CATEGORY: Mileage


This is the topic about which we receive the most questions.

Why do you call this a 150mpg car if it is mostly electric? Does it really get 150 miles per gallon? When discussing plug-in hybrid cars, mpg figures require deeper explanation. We have calculated gasoline mileage by using average American driving patterns estimated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and simulating the EPA combined urban/highway driving cycle of the host vehicle operating only with its conventional hybrid drive train. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 78% of Americans drive less than 40 miles a day. On those days, drivers of Extreme Hybrids will need no gasoline at all -- even driving an SUV. Assuming that someone drives 40 miles a day, 6 days a week and 80 miles on one weekend day, total weekly distance traveled will be 320 miles. The first 280 miles are electric. The next 40 miles, on one weekend day, will use gas alone. Even if the car, while running only on gas on day 7, were to get only 20 mpg because the car were heavily laden and the driver has a “lead foot,” that would still mean the driver will use just a little more than two gallons of gasoline for the week. Although this translates into 160 MPG, we use a more conservative 150 MPG to take into account that mileage will vary depending on where and how a car is driven, but we are comfortable that 150 miles per gallon of gasoline is a good number for 78% of American drivers driving the way most Americans drive.

Will the electric range of the batteries ever be more or less than 40 miles? Yes, driving patterns, weather conditions, and a host of other factors will affect the range of the batteries. Generally speaking, fuel economy for a plugin hybrid is highly dependent on three factors: (1) how far the car can travel per day using electricity alone in combined urban/highway driving (in the case of the XH150 it is over 40 miles); (2) how far the car will travel each week beyond 280 miles: and (3) what the fuel consumption of the car will be when operated only on gas.

Let’s look at some additional examples:

Example A: If we base our calculation on a driver who travels a typical 12,000 miles per year and assume they drive the same distance every day, that would mean they would drive only about 32 miles per day. Since the XH150 can go at least 40 miles on electricity alone each day—our test track measurement was actually 41.9 miles—that would mean that all of these 32 miles of daily driving could be in all electric mode, which would mean that the miles per gallon of gasoline in a week of driving would be virtually infinite as no gasoline would be consumed in this “typical” week of driving.

Example B: Even those of us who don’t go more than 12,000 miles per year and average only about 230 miles per week still occasionally take a trip longer than 40 miles. Assuming that a driver goes 40 miles per day, but takes one longer trip per week of 60 miles and gets only 20 mpg when driving on gasoline, such a driver would burn only one gallon of gasoline per week to go the extra 20 miles beyond the 40 mile electric range. This driver would therefore get 320 miles/gallon of gasoline.

Example C: Assume, after a week of normal driving using electricity alone, that a driver takes an unusually long (for her) trip on Sunday in which she uses mostly gasoline. Let's say that the trip on Sunday is 80 miles each way for a total of 160 miles, the first 40 would be on electricity and the remaining 120 would be on gasoline at, assuming worst case gas engine mileage and a fuel-economy-challenged driver, 20 mpg. That would mean this driver would consume 6 gallons of gasoline in that week to go a total of 440 miles. Even this driver will do better than today's average driver, as he or she would get 73.3 miles per gallon (440 miles/6 gallons).

Example D: The default driving mode for most individuals in the XH150 will be electric-only mode, with the gas engine hardly, if ever, being used. This will deliver the highest fuel economy by far. But some fleet drivers, e.g. police departments and other emergency responders, may wish to operate the car in full hybrid mode most of the time in order to have access to very rapid acceleration and higher highway speeds. Surprisingly, in our tests using a simulated urban/highway driving cycle, the XH150 has been averaging 68 miles per gallon with operating range in full hybrid mode of about 60 miles. Although this is not nearly as fuel efficient as using the car in the preferred electric-only mode, its fuel economy even delivering such high performance is greater than the largest selling hybrid in the world, the Toyota Prius.

Looking at America as a whole, however, Example A or Example B are probably the most typical, which is why we state that mileage in the XH150 is at least 150 MPG.

It should be born in mind that the XH150 is not yet EPA-certified and will not be EPA-certified unless and until a production model is built and tested on a dynomometer. Therefore, all mileage numbers are necessarily AFS Trinity estimates of what EPA certified mileage will be after EPA certification. Lastly, your mileage will obviously vary depending on how—and how far—you drive.


Categories:
Availability
Technology
Battery
Social / Political / Industry
Cost
Mileage
Company

CATEGORY: Company


What does AFST have that is proprietary that makes the company special? AFS Trinity holds several patents for the XH system, including the special electronics and controls unit, which is essentially the brain of the Extreme Hybrid™ system.

Is AFS Trinity a subsidiary of a larger auto company? No. We are a small, private company.

What is the next step for the company? We are currently exploring the option of licensing our XH™ system to major automakers or OEMs. Plan B would be to raise more capital, attract a few good partners and build and sell XH vehicles ourselves.


DISCLAIMER: Some statements on this page are forward-looking. These statements may be identified by the use of words such as "will," "expects," "believes," "targets," "intends," and words of similar import. Actual results may vary depending on circumstances both within and outside the control of the Company, including market acceptance of products, technology development cycles and other risk factors. AFS Trinity Power Corporation takes no responsibility for updating any forward-looking statements made on this page.


TOP