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AFS Trinity Awarded Patent for Extreme Hybrid Drivetrain; Company Arguing for Full PHEV Tax Credit

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.



This seems to be a better approach for e-city taxis, e-city buses and electric delivery and private vehicles used mostly in stop and go city like traffic.

Energy storage units would all last longer than batteries ONLY solution.


They make good use of ultra-capacitors, but a PHEV is a plug device, caps do not make much use of the plug feature. While they may argue for the full tax credit, I think that they will get something less based on the storage capability.


This is a totally bogus patent! They have been doing this for applications for many years and the patent office has GOT to grow up and stop giving out patents for obvious and already used ideas.

Haven't they ever seen a camera with a flash before? What do they think was driving those? They used a battery to run the whole camera and to charge the capacitor, and then when it was time for a flash, they would discharge the capacitor! It extends the battery life by over 400% and allows for smaller batteries.

This is NOT NEW you and this only hurts competition now by letting one group run around and charge everyone in the market for something that is obvious and been in use for decades.


Not only do they want to restrict innovation, but they want a tax credit to do it. They are not the only ones, just the most visible at the present time.


"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."

I don't like the phase "very broad protection", but hopefully there are original specifics in the Extreme Hybrid drive train that merit a patent.

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