AFS Trinity Unveils UltraCap-Battery Plug-in Hybrid
A HYBRID that drives the first miles of each trip on batteries charged from the electricity grid — and burns no gasoline at all until the batteries have been drawn down — is a widely sought antidote to $3 gasoline. But no automaker has yet shown a battery pack for such a vehicle, known as a plug-in hybrid, that would be durable enough for mass production.
Now one company, AFS Trinity Power of Bellevue, Wash., says there is no need to wait for advanced batteries to be invented — that a successful plug-in hybrid can be assembled from components that are already available. The company, which specializes in energy storage devices, is displaying a running prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens Sunday for press previews and runs through Jan. 27.
The prototype is based on a Saturn Vue Green Line, a hybrid crossover that General Motors builds using a low-cost belt-alternator system for its electric drive. With extensive modifications, AFS Trinity’s Vue can run 40 miles on electricity alone, the company says, drawing its power from a combination of lithium-ion batteries and scaled-up versions of common electrical devices called capacitors.
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