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Ricardo to Work with AFS Trinity on 250MPG Plug-In Hybrid (corrected)

The XH hybrid architecture. Click to enlarge.

Ricardo will join AFS Trinity to design, test and develop AFS Trinity’s Extreme Hybrid drivetrain (earlier post) and to build the initial systems for licensing by AFS Trinity to carmakers worldwide.

The Extreme Hybrid plug-in promises fuel economy in the 200–250 mpg US range. Its Li-ion/capacitor-based energy storage system provides greater efficiency in energy capture and release from regenerative braking, thereby extending the operational range of the vehicle in all-electric mode.

(An earlier prototype of the Extreme Hybrid used a flywheel as supplementary energy storage. AFS Trinity has moved away from that design.)

We decided to enter into this technology partnership with AFS Trinity because we are of the view that the plug-in hybrid has the potential to become the next generation in hybrid vehicle development.

—Dave Shemmans, Ricardo CEO

Ricardo has been a world-leading vehicle system and powertrain technology provider for automotive manufacturers, heavy-duty manufacturers and tier one suppliers since 1915. The company provides expertise ranging from designing and developing engines, transmissions and drivelines, to integrating vehicle systems and creating software solutions, to developing gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell technology.

After the Extreme Hybrid (XH) is ready for licensing to OEMs, Ricardo intends to provide assistance to the world’s automakers in integrating the integrating the XH plug-in hybrid drivetrain into their specific platforms.

The power electronics, ultracapacitors, batteries, motors and other related advanced components that we will integrate with Ricardo’s help into the Extreme Hybrid drivetrain are all advancing rapidly and reducing in cost.

Some of the components will come from third party vendors whom Ricardo will help us identify and vet, and other parts will come from previous AFS Trinity work on NASA, DOT, and DARPA government contracts and internal R&D programs.

A truly practical and reliable plug-in hybrid technology is now emerging—it’s called the Extreme Hybrid drivetrain and we are hopeful of seeing it on the road in the near future.

—Edward Furia, Chairman and CEO of AFS Trinity

Furia said Ricardo’s participation in development, system integration, testing and manufacturing “will take years off the time needed to take the Extreme Hybrid plug-in from a technical wonder to cars, SUVs and trucks that consumers will find highly attractive.

The XH hybrid drivetrain system consists of five primary elements:

  1. Advanced lithium batteries that are recharged at night with off-peak power from the power grid.

  2. An advanced ultracapacitor for improved energy capture (up to 80%) and storage from regenerative braking.

  3. Advanced power-conversion and management electronics.

  4. A high efficiency steady-state Internal Combustion Engine.

  5. An electric powertrain.

AFS Trinity characterizes the XH drivetrain as a “hybrid-hybrid”. When the vehicle runs on electricity alone it will not rely solely on its batteries; ultracapacitors will provide high power over a short duration for acceleration or for quickly capturing regenerative braking energy.

This addresses one of the biggest challenges for chemical batteries—their ability to tolerate absorbing or releasing high currents when they are in a deeply discharged state.

AFS Trinity expects that a plug-in hybrid sedan incorporating the drive train will achieve fuel efficiency of 250 mpg and that a moderate size SUV utilizing the drive train will be capable of 200 mpg. The driver will be able to operate the vehicle in electric-only mode for 40 miles, and at any time may flip a switch to run the vehicle as a conventional hybrid with a 500-mile range.

AFS Trinity Power Corporation is an energy storage company, created in 2000 through the combination of two pioneers: American Flywheel Systems (AFS)—the recipient of the first patent ever given for a flywheel battery (1992)—and Trinity Flywheel Power (Trinity). The company has devoted more than $45 million, 75% of it from private sources, to the development of kinetic energy storage, power management and UPS power backup technologies.

Update. AFS Trinity has said that they are still open to using flywheels in future Extreme Hybrid designs; they simply don’t think they’ll use a flywheel in the first mass-produced Extreme Hybrid vehicles under development with Ricardo.



Amazing! Now they just need to pick an engine. I recommend Honda's!!!!!


I recommend VW :)


Now this thing sound like more efficient then fuel cell car...


Great news. Just hope that it actually gets marketed.


This seems to be one of the most complete approaches to PHEVs, with one exception. Why is so little being done to address the energy lost as heat through the ICE? BMW has a system that does just that, but I can't say I've heard anyone else promoting this. Being such a significant portion of the energy that is lost by the ICE, how can it be that this is so ignored? The concept of turning heat energy into mechanical energy has been around for quite some time!


richard schumacher

Eww, clutches and variable-diameter pulleys. No thanks.


Sounds like a good start. Team it up with a biodiesel powered engine which runs efficiently at a constant speed and you dramatically decrease our dependance on foreign oil. The waste heat from the engine can partially be recovered with conversion technology whereby it is converted to electricity not mechanical energy. Only question with such a process is cost versus benefit of the conversion.

All in all sounds like a good approach. Let's see what happens when it is put to the test.

Robert Schwartz

I assume that the 200 mpg claim is based on tom Friedman's idea that electricity comes from wall sockets.

Konstantin K. Borovsky

It is very interest and nessesary idea (-s) for people!

How I may make co-creation and cooperation with Your Corp.?

I am from UKRAINE, Kyiv/Kiev

For example, air technologys are carbon/glas-Fibre Body manufacturing, Advansed Super Condensators, laboratorys & climatic (-60 to ...Celsius 24/7/365-per-year) test rooms, real-time test run of vehicle in the capital/Kyiv (real routs) etc. Also, reseach institutes, manufacturers and design companys are redy for cooperation.

We also have corporative Cargo Air Transportation Devithion for rapid ultimate weight word-wide cargo transportation for optimal rent.

Best regards,

Konstantin K. Borovsky

Carter Lee

Yeah! baby, Yeah!

Oh! wait untill you get to see what I'm building. :)

Kari Lemons

200 miles per gallon is great for one side of the equation reducing petrolium usage. But the other side is local sustainable RENEWABLE fuel. Thin film nanotech solar paint on the roof and hood and biodiesel 100 certified engines. This is a car that will change the world :)

Michael Bender


The ability to utilize the waste heat of combustion is one of the best "arguments" going for PHEVs. Because most of the combustion used to create the electricity is done in a centralized location (rather than spread out over 1000s of vehicles), it is much easier to use "waste" heat for beneficial/profitable purposes, such as the brilliant folks at cogeneration.net (Cogeneration Technologies) are doing. As the grid, its exhaust, and its heat get "cleaned up", PHEVs become even more attractive and obvious than they are already.

Jonathan Cassidy

Important to HE and XH is a change in driving habits. Americans in particular need to know how to look down the road and pick when to coast or regen power.

I get excellent mileage on my Toyota Prius because I look down the road and make use of coating and regen distances. Also I am more aware of traffic difficulties.

Brian Botts

I think that it might be a good idea to consider a multi-fuel turbine. Its light, efficient at constant speeds, and can burn anything.


the 200, 250 mpg numbers are lies. or, at least, gross misrepresentations of the truth. as another poster pointed out, the company appears to be claiming that the electricity is free and magically appeared in the wall socket.

I only wonder why they stopped at 250 mpg. Why not claim that nobody will ever drive outside of the battery range and say that it gets infinite fuel economy from the free energy magically derived from wall sockets?

John Faith

I second Mr. Cassidy's comment about considering a turbine. My favorite kind is bladeless, and it very simple to manufacture. See Nikola Tesla's long-expired US patent #1,061,206.

Saul Rosenberg

I think it is reasonable to assume that the future cost of electricity will indeed be very close to free when compared to the cost of fossil based transportation fules, to power a car the same distance down the road.

Biofuels and fossil fuels will be extremly scarce, while abundant nuclear generated electricity will allow these types of cars actuall hit the road...

Charles Snow

First how AFS figured out 250 miles per gallon? My understanding is this company has been more than 10 years but without single products out. The number of 250 m/g is simply made up. In addition, all of its enginners were left therefore it is an empty company with someones sit there waiting invested money...

doug wod

I think it is a very good to power our cars and trucks.

Free Electricity?

For those of you wondering what the equation looks like when you figure in the costs of generating electricity in the first place (Re: Electricity is free and comes from wall sockets). Don't forget to do your math on the costs of generating the gas at the pumps as well. It's not unleaded 87 octane that comes out of those well heads. Let's compare apples to apples.

PHEV 250mpg vs Conventional ICE vehicle 30mpg
Electricity generation cost vs Gasoline generation cost.

art johnson

Around 1992 I believe edward furia had a fly wheel car (dodge interped) that he was showing. Claimed some thing like 340 miles per electrical charge. Used no batteries or gas.Could plug into 110 out let and caused the flywheel to top out in 15 minutes.Was incased in a shell that had a vacum to reduce friction while spinning.The fly wheel would send electricty to motors in the wheels after it was at full spin.What happened to that idea??

Tom Hobbs

I lie everything I have read except for the engine.
Personally I prefer the series hybrid approach as it offers future flexibility.
With this approach I would use a compressed air motor/generator recharging unit. A horizontal opposed twin cylinder plastic engine with a lateral alternator should only require five moving parts and cost less than $100 to manufacture in high volume. I would use tanks developed for hydrogen fuel cells. The away from home infra structure requirements to recharge air tanks are DRAMATICALLY lower than hydrogen or gas.
When fuel cells reach a reasonable cost such a vehical could easily be converted.

Gary Christian

For all of us JEEP lovers please...PLEASE tell me you're developing a drop in kit. I own a 2005 Sport Wrangler. I was just on the phone with Chrysler yesterday asking if something like your hybrid engine was in development. I couldn't get answer. People like to drive their JEEPs forever. We just keep fixing them up no matter what happens to them. With gas prices going up, you could sell your engine to every JEEP owner in the world. And there are a lot of us. Please come to JEEPCAMP this summer and you will see. 1-888-JEEPCAMP.

coal fired car

Gee, most of my electricity comes from coal fired power plants which create huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Now, let's see, everyone plugs in at night when the power grid use to be slow. Wonder how green this will turn out????

Larry Freng

EVERY state should be responsible for allocating land to grow some form of bio-fuel crop. Whatever is indigenous to their individual state. All governments should be held accountable for all pollution on the planet! They are the people who are elected to do right by the people they are governing. Instead of worrying about building giant power plants costing millions to generate electricity. Put solar panels on everyones house, and add their own wind powered generator, then EVERY HOUSE should be self sustaining. NO need to use 40,000 square acre plots of land to build solar facilities in turn use the land for CROPLANDS to produce food and fuel.

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