The lithium ion batteries being used for plug-in hybrids such as the Chevy Volt are easily the single most expensive part of the car and now, AFS Trinity is claiming that they will only last 25,000 miles before needing to be replaced. The company has its own plug-in hybrid technology and claims their batteries can last 150,000 miles and avoids this rapid deterioration because of ultracapacitors they employ that act as an energy buffer. They will be showing off their "Extreme Hybrid" prototypes and making further details available across the street from the LAConvention Center, since the LA Auto Show will kick off this week without them. AFS Trinity stakes its claim on an independent study conducted by Mobile Power Solutions.

So is it true? We haven't seen the study for ourselves yet, though we are curious to read what exactly was tested and how. We feel, however, it is probably pretty safe to assume this claim is as dubious as their 150 Mpge assertion. These batteries have been used in electric cars and plug-in hybrid conversions for some time now without mention of such a disastrously short life span. As well, GM have been targeting 150,000 miles / 10 years as the minimum requirement for its lithium ion packs. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge. Press release after the break.

Related GalleryDetroit 2008: AFS Trinity XH-250 and XH-150


[Source: AFS Trinity]



PRESS RELEASE


AFS Trinity Reports Its Battery/Ultracap Plug in Hybrid System Is 6 Times More Durable Than Lithium Batteries Alone
Independent test suggests that lithium battery-only plug in hybrid vehicles introduced by others may need to have their batteries replaced every 25,000 miles

LOS ANGELES, Nov 17, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- AFS Trinity Power Corporation today reported independent test results demonstrating that the company's "Extreme Hybrid" technology that utilizes batteries in combination with ultracapacitors will enable a plug in hybrid vehicle using the system to have a useful life that is 6 times greater than plug ins that use lithium batteries alone -- 150,000 miles for an AFS Trinity Extreme Hybrid versus 25,000 miles for a conventional plug in hybrid that uses lithium ion batteries alone.
Battery tests were conducted by America's leading independent battery testing laboratory, Mobile Power Solutions of Beaverton, Oregon.

"For plug in hybrids," according to AFS Trinity CEO Edward W. Furia, "this means that the off the shelf lithium ion batteries in cars incorporating our patent pending dual energy storage technology will probably last for the entire life of the vehicle whereas the lithium batteries of conventional plug ins with battery-only technology will need to be replaced every 25,000 miles. A number of companies have announced plans to build plug in hybrids that can power a car for 40 miles in all-electric mode. Even if the batteries can deliver this much power, how viable are these plug ins if they are only good for 25,000 miles?"

"However," Furia said, "AFS Trinity does not rule out the possibility that more durable cost effective batteries could be invented that could be used alone and which might be sufficient to handle the duty cycle of a PHEV. However, no such battery, of which AFS Trinity is aware, currently exists."

David Shemmans, CEO of Ricardo, the world's leading automotive engineering firm and a preferred supplier to AFS Trinity, said, "Batteries are the single most expensive part of an electric vehicle or plug in hybrid EV. From a cost standpoint, replacing the batteries is analogous to replacing the engine in an internal combustion-only car. Replacing the battery after they are used for only 25,000 miles, which could occur in just over 18 months in an average American driver's car, would make plug ins impractical. A plug in hybrid with an energy storage system that can survive 150,000 miles of driving is an enormous advantage and a potential economic game changer."
Furia explained why AFS Trinity's dual energy storage system of lithium ion batteries and ultracapacitors managed by advanced power electronics results in the batteries being so much more durable than when the batteries are subjected to the same current demands but are used alone.
"When a battery in a plug in hybrid is subjected to high current demands, which occurs every time the vehicle accelerates, either from a stop light or while merging from an on-ramp onto a freeway, resistive heating occurs in the battery. This resistive heating can easily become excessive with stop and go driving. Such excessive resistive heating damages a battery, and, in some cases can destroy it. In any event this phenomenon reduces the number of miles that can be driven during the life of the battery. In our system, however, the high current demand events are handled by the ultracapacitor, allowing the battery essentially to coast. Between such high current events, the battery trickled power into the ultracap, so that when the next acceleration occurs the ultracap is ready to handle it," Furia said.

XH150 performance
Describing the prototypes, Furia said AFS Trinity's XH150 is not only a roomy SUV but "a fully operational Extreme Hybrid(TM) that can go at least 40 miles without burning a drop of gasoline in the electric vehicle mode with a top EV speed of 87 MPH...and from zero to 60 in 11.6 seconds in all electric mode and 6.9 seconds in full hybrid mode. After 40 miles as an electric vehicle the Extreme Hybrid automatically converts to gas."

Calculating mileage
Furia explained, "As the U.S. EPA is still in the process of determining how it will calculate fuel economy of electric vehicles (EV) or plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), no EV or PHEV has yet received an EPA certification of mileage, including AFS Trinity's XH150. Eventually, EPA will issue guidelines regarding EV and PHEV mileage which are expected to translate kilowatt hours consumed per hundred miles to the more familiar mile per gallon units. The Department of Energy is also using an adjustment factor for such calculations that takes into account not only energy content but scarcity of fuel and reduction and distribution efficiency, which will yield even more impressive mileage figures."
He said, "No matter how EPA resolves the question about how mileage will be calculated for EVs and PHEVs, a vehicle such as the XH150, which can travel 40 miles per day and 280 per week without burning a drop of gasoline, will achieve fuel economy previously unheard of in any passenger vehicle, let alone a 5 passenger SUV. Therefore, until the dust clears regarding new EPA mileage certification methodology, for the time being AFS Trinity will use its own calculation that estimates the amount of gasoline that would be consumed by a typical American driver using her vehicle in a typical week of driving 320 miles."
Furia said, "Since, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. DOT, over 78% of Americans drive less than 40 miles a day, in this car they would burn zero gasoline on most days. On weekends, they might drive twice that far on one day, 80 miles, half of which would use gasoline. Even assuming a heavily laden vehicle and an aggressive driver, the gasoline consumed in a week would still only be 2 gallons. Thus, based on a total of 320 miles per week, fuel economy will average over 160 miles per gallon, which we round down to 150 mpg. No additional new technology is needed to achieve these results. The AFS Trinity technology is ready to be immediately integrated into vehicles that could be mass produced."
About AFS Trinity and Ricardo

AFS Trinity develops Fast Energy Storage(TM) for vehicular, spacecraft and stationary power systems utilizing batteries, ultracapacitors, and flywheels. The Company has conducted programs with private and government organizations including DARPA, NASA, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. DOT, California Energy Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, Lockheed, Honeywell, Mercedes and Ricardo. AFS Trinity's patent-pending Extreme Hybrid(TM) drive train utilizes ultra-capacitors, batteries and proprietary power and control electronics for plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Ricardo, the world's leading independent automotive engineering firm, with over 1900 engineers in facilities around the world, has assisted AFS Trinity in building the first XH-150 prototypes and is a preferred supplier to AFS Trinity for drive train integration support. For more information visit http://www.afstrinity.com and http://www.ricardo.com.

Some statements in this news release 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 in this release.
Extreme Hybrid(TM), ExtremeFleet(TM), XH(TM), XH-150(TM), XH-250(TM), Fast Energy(TM), Fast Energy Storage(TM), Just Plug It In(TM), Powered by Fast Energy(TM) are trademarks pending of AFS Trinity Power Corporation. Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved.