AFS Trinity Power Corporation has been awarded a patent for its Extreme Hybrid drive train that combines ultracapacitors and other power electronics and energy storage devices with off-the-shelf chemical batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles. (Earlier post.)
The company said it expects DOE and US Congressional recognition of the cost, safety and performance benefits of the new technology in the form of the full plug-in hybrid tax credit of $7,500 to vehicles using this technology. Although the tax credit is presently tied to the total energy stored in the batteries in a plug-in hybrid vehicle, the new AFS Trinity technology makes possible the use of as few as 50% as many batteries while increasing battery durability and performance through the use of ultracapacitors, thus driving down the total cost of the drive train and the overall plug-in hybrid vehicle cost by as much as a third.
AFS Trinity Chief Executive Officer Edward W. Furia has written to federal legislators and the Department of Energy, stating, in part:
While our patented technology could reduce the cost of PHEVs by as much as a third it also deserves to be accorded the full plug-in tax credit of up to $7500, which is a critical selling point for consumers. Our system, which we call the Extreme Hybrid relies not on batteries alone but also on powerful electronic devices called ultra-capacitors which reduce the total number of batteries needed.
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. This innovation allows plug-ins to travel farther on smaller, less-expensive lithium-ion batteries, while also increasing the useful life of the batteries.
The patent provides very broad protection for the new AFS Trinity technology, covering the use of ultracapacitors, flywheels and “power batteries” used to protect the main energy storage battery bank.
AFS Trinity Power Corp was created by a 2001 merger of American Flywheel Systems (AFS) and Trinity Flywheel Power (Trinity) which were incorporated in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington with an engineering center in Livermore, California, the company develops Fast Energy Storage for vehicular, spacecraft and stationary power systems utilizing batteries, ultracapacitors, and flywheels.