• Nov 7th 2008 at 11:47AM
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Back at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the AFS Trinity hybrids - with an artfully calculated 150 mpge number - were buried in the basement. For the upcoming LA Auto Show, AFS Trinity has declared it will not accept a downstairs location again and will instead pull out of the show entirely, citing "actions by the LA Auto Show to muzzle AFS Trinity from highlighting the 150 miles per gallon fuel economy of its XH150 prototype vehicles." AFS Trinity chairman and CEO Edward Furia said in a statement that, "The suppression by the automakers of information about technologies such as this raises serious questions about the judgment, vision, intentions and capabilities of the leadership of these companies. Such conduct by the automakers ... is evidence they are reluctant to embrace solutions they didn't invent."

According to AFS Trinity, the LA Auto Show organizers would not let them highlight the 150 mpg number in ads in the show's promotional material. Without this number, AFS Trinity said, no one would want to come to the basement to see their prototypes. The trouble is, AFS Trinity is full of it. Their 150 mpg estimate is wholly deceiving. I'll explain why after the jump.

[Source: AFS Trinity Power Corporation]
Taken from the company website, here is how AFS Trinity gets to the 150 mpg number:

Mileage is based on a typical week of driving: 40 miles, 6 days per week and 80 miles on one day each week. The first 40 of every day are electric and gasoline is used for longer distances. For this driving profile, the XH-150 uses up to 2 gallons of gas for 320 miles traveled which works out to 160 mpg, which we round down to 150 miles per gallon.

Great, but by using that "methodology," you could really get any value for the mpg you wanted. Just keep adding days of all-electric driving and then tack on a little bit of gas-burning miles at the end to get something other than mpg (that's supposed to be an infinity symbol there, in case it doesn't show up in your browser). Do a little math and you can see that the AFS Trinity SUV really gets closer to 20 mpg. I'm not saying they shouldn't be applauded for working on plug-in hybrids, but the LA Auto Show is right to tell AFS Trinity to get real or get in the basement.


Refusing to be Muzzled by LA Auto Show, AFS Trinity Pulls 150 MPG SUV out of Show; Will Exhibit Elsewhere in LA During Show

Company says carmakers continue to seek tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, ostensibly to develop fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, but their conduct is evidence they are reluctant to embrace solutions they didn't invent.

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- AFS Trinity Power Corporation today announced it pulled its 150 MPG plug-in hybrid SUV prototypes out of the LA Auto Show but will independently exhibit and demonstrate the super fuel- efficient vehicles on their own elsewhere in downtown LA during the show.

The company's decision followed actions by the LA Auto Show to muzzle AFS Trinity from highlighting the 150 miles per gallon fuel economy of its XH150 prototype vehicles. "The suppression by the automakers of information about technologies such as this raises serious questions about the judgment, vision, intentions and capabilities of the leadership of these companies," said Edward W. Furia, Chairman and CEO of AFS Trinity. "Such conduct by the automakers, who are currently seeking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, ostensibly to develop fuel efficient vehicle technologies, is evidence they are reluctant to embrace solutions they didn't invent."

First shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January, 2008, two XH150 prototypes have toured the country for the last ten months and received positive reactions from the American public, national media (see coverage at http://www.afstrinity.com/press-coverage.htm), public officials, Governors, Senators and Members of Congress as well as automotive fleet managers and engineers in Austin, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, Livermore and Sacramento. (Images available for download at http://www.afstrinity.com/press-images.htm).

Furia explained that, when AFS Trinity sought exhibition space on the main floor of the LA Auto Show, the only space that show management offered was the Kentia Hall basement (Note: the LA Auto Show is "owned" by the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association, which, in turn, is closely associated with the major auto makers in Detroit). To address AFS Trinity's concern that the Kentia Hall basement space was much less likely to attract visitors to the XH150 exhibit, show management offered the company a package of floor space in Kentia, advertising space in the auto show program and billboard space on the main floor of the convention center, suggesting that AFS Trinity could use the ad and billboard to attract visitors to the basement exhibit.

"There was just one hitch," Furia said. "Before we could proceed, the content of our ad and billboard had to be submitted to auto show management for approval. When we told them that the ad and billboard content would essentially be the same as what the company has used in its web site for the past ten months and which we used at the Detroit Auto Show in January, they responded that our mileage claim of 150 miles per gallon would not be permitted."

Furia quoted an email from LA Auto Show management that said, "We cannot approve this content ... the mileage claim is of primary concern to us. Manufacturers are forced to quote EPA verified mpg numbers in their advertising, and ... [your] 150-MPG figure is an estimation. A banner like this one in the lobby is likely to generate unfavorable reactions from manufacturers, which is something we will take action to avoid." (Email from LA Auto Show Assistant General Manager, Scott Webb).

In response, AFS Trinity observed that EPA does not certify mileage estimates of show cars and prototypes, but nevertheless offered to modify its billboard and ad content with new text, stating, "150-MPG is an estimate, not EPA-certified ...your mileage may vary."

The email AFS Trinity received in response from LA Auto Show management, according to Furia, reads: 'We will not accept any billboard or program advertising that mentions AFS Trinity's 150-MPG claim, including references as part of the graphics on the vehicle. This is no longer a topic for further discussion."

Explaining AFS Trinity's decision to pull out of the LA Auto show completely, Furia said, "We had no choice but to pull out of the show when they refused to let us state our 150-MPG mileage estimate, as it is the most important and popular feature of our technology. Indeed, I believe our fuel economy would be the main reason that people would go to the trouble to find us at the auto show," he said. "Being in the basement was bad enough. Forcing us to be silent about our key benefit was simply unacceptable."

Ignoring the solution

Furia said, "No one questions the sales potential of a 150-MPG SUV that can carry a whole family and provide better acceleration than similar gasoline models. Every single person who has driven these cars loves them and wants one. We have built two XH150 prototypes and demonstrated them across the country. Yet, none of the major automakers has accepted our invitation to see and drive them, let alone license the technology and mass produce them. They usually claim that they are going to come up with something of their own in the future. In other words, they reject breakthroughs they didn't invent."

"In the meantime," Furia said, "American auto plants are closing, men and women who are among the best trained, most productive auto workers in the world are losing their jobs in record numbers, and America is in danger of losing the last vestiges of its heartland heavy industrial base altogether. We want people to know that a super fuel-efficient automotive solution to our dependence on oil already exists, which the driving public enthusiastically supports and that major automakers can license and mass-produce within an estimated three years."

Furia said, "Our desire to deliver this message in spite of the effort to muzzle us is why we decided to bring our exhibit trailer and prototypes to downtown L.A., the American city that, probably more than any other, understands the environmental, energy and economic implications of this technology. The anticompetitive behavior by the automakers is troubling because Americans still appear willing to buy new cars if they are offered the right ones. Now is the time to embrace new fuel efficient vehicle technologies, not stifle them."

EPA and prototypes

According to Furia, "The reason the LA Auto Show gave for prohibiting our 150 mile per gallon estimate -- which we have widely used in other auto shows and which has been broadly reported by the media worldwide -- is that EPA has not certified this mileage, but this is a weak and transparent excuse, as EPA does not certify mileage for show cars or prototypes. Certification does not happen until a car is much closer to being commercially produced."

AFS Trinity's 150-MPG mileage estimate is based on a typical week of driving: 40 miles, 6 days per week and 80 miles on one weekend day each week. The first 40 miles of every day are electric, with gasoline being used only for distances beyond 40 miles. For this driving profile, the XH-150 uses up to 2 gallons of gas to travel 320 miles, which works out to 160 mpg, which the company rounds down to 150 miles per gallon.

Battery issue

Furia explained that the difference between the AFS Trinity approach to energy storage in a plugin hybrid and that of other developers is the use of ultracapacitors and proprietary control electronics to solve the power and life cycle limitations of batteries. AFS Trinity has been developing sophisticated energy storage and delivery technologies for 18 years working with a variety of private and government entities, including DARPA, NASA, the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Transportation, California State agencies, Oak Ridge National Labs, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, Lockheed, Honeywell, Mercedes, Ricardo and others.

"We applaud attempts by carmakers and others to develop a new battery that might be able to overcome the inherent reliability and durability problems related to the duty cycle demanded of a plugin hybrid, but waiting for it -- especially as it may never emerge or may emerge at an impossibly high cost -- is risky business, particularly when the auto industry needs an energy storage and power management solution for plug ins now," Furia said. "We have a solution today that we have demonstrated and that only requires mass production engineering in order to be put into commercial production in a wide range of cars, trucks and SUVs."

Implications for Auto Industry Stimulus (aka "Bail-out") Package

Furia noted that the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday that Detroit automakers are once again on Capital Hall in Washington, D.C. seeking a bail-out and forecasting their own demise if they don't get it. "This is certain to be a major issue that the new U.S. Congress and President-Elect Obama will consider. An emergency bail-out could even become an issue in the remaining days of 2008 for the current U.S. Congress," he said.

"The action that the LA Auto Show took to muzzle AFS Trinity has implications for such a bailout," Furia said. "The idea that the Detroit automakers, through their LA Auto Show agents, would seek to suppress interest in a super-efficient vehicle technology developed by a small company such as AFS Trinity truly challenges the imagination, particularly given the global energy security landscape through which America must navigate in the next several decades," Furia said.

Whether the behavior of the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers, and, by implication and association, the carmakers they serve, is based on NIH ("not-invented-here") considerations, or something else, it raises questions about whether the current leadership of the American auto industry possesses the perspective, character, capability and vision to escape the death march in which they currently appear to be locked, no matter how large a bailout the next Congress and President-Elect Obama are willing to support.

"As dangerous as Detroit's problems may be, they also represent an enormous opportunity to reject antiquated attitudes and behaviors and create millions of new jobs and feed unprecedented economic growth, precisely because these problems are so large and so critical to address. Simply put," Furia concluded, "a stimulus package that allows current auto industry leadership to remain in control of the destiny of this critically important industry as it confronts this unprecedented crisis -- and opportunity -- is something that the new Congress and President-Elect Obama should really think twice about."

About AFS Trinity

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 www.afstrinity.com and 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. (C) 2008 AFS Trinity Power Corporation.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree that Aptera is being deceptive with the 300 mpg number, but it's not fair to say they're in the same league as AFS. The Aptera Typ-1h gets 130 mpg with a dead battery pack. That's a tad better than the Trinity's 20 mpg, don't you think?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, finally. This is same BS that Aptera spreads with their "300mpg" vehicle.

      This is the same BS that the the battery pack extenders for Prius claim and seem to get away with because they don't have to deal with EPA.

      This is the same thing GM is trying to lobby the EPA to give the Volt as a rating.

      It is all BS. Exactly as Sebastion mentions. You can set some condition to give you any number you want. In the end it is completely meaningless.

      What will tell you everything you need for PHEVs is:
      1: The plug in range.
      2: The MPG rating of the extender when you exceed that range.

      That is all. Now you can figure out for yourself how this meets your needs.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "What will tell you everything you need for PHEVs is:
        1: The plug in range.
        2: The MPG rating of the extender when you exceed that range."


      • 6 Years Ago
      I think a less misleading way would be to fill up the tank & the battery and then drive until both are empty and then divide the number of miles by the gallons you used (though this can still be manipulated by having a smaller tank, but at least there's a limit to how much you can manipulate it since if you go too small the total range will be too short). To be really fair the mpge of the electric mode should also be included.

      If even the Volt can "only" claim 100mpge, I don't see how AFS can claim 150mpge when their car has the same AER & much lower mpg for the hybrid mode.

      I agree the actual set values to be posted rather than values that can vary by methodology. This includes the kWh/mi value for electric mode, the mpg for hybrid mode, and total miles of all electric range possible.

      I guess it is kind of unfair to single them out since a couple of PHEVs are already using these kind of mpge ratings.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a great interest in a plug-in that will go 40 miles on battery alone and hold freeway speeds. My round trip to work is about 35 miles. If I pick up something on the way home, it typically adds 2 to 4 miles. Weekends usually call for less driving. I might take a longer trip 4 to 6 times a year. I total 12,000 to 13,500 miles per year on this car. I would need the engine for 500 to 1500 miles per year. If the car achieved 25mpg on gas, that would be 25 to 60 gallons per year.

      Why doesn't that work out to between 225 and 480 mpg?

      BTW I suffered through the "NO GAS" years in the 70's, I would be very happy for 40 miles on no gas!
      • 6 Years Ago
      These are scammers paid and protected by federal goverment agencies. They are the same people( joe romm) that were publisching false information about hydrogen cars. Their private compagny inniciative are illegal because they are madscientists paid by goverment to resolve the energy 'crisis'. They surrelly are looking to sue and make problems to regular car business for patents rights . Terrorism from state employees, thats all. I said many times before tax are not there to protect, its there to protect incompetants and criminals.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Gorr, you're ranting again. You will never be taken seriously if you keep making wild over-the-top accusations without a scintilla of proof. To everyone else, your posts sound like they came from a paranoid nutcase. Seriously, it isn't "illegal" in any way to be paid by the government to work on a solution to the energy crisis, even if that solution doesn't involve your favorite solutions of hydrogen or compressed natural gas. Other people have a legal right to try other solutions to our problems, you don't get a monopoly on problem solving - especially since you don't have a solution, either.

        If you ever want to be taken seriously, you are going to have to learn how to make a rational and reasonable argument.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How do you know he isn't a paranoid nut case?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm with Peter G. on this one. I'm not sure why ABG felt the need to jump all over AFS for using the same asinine formula to calculate their MPG that all the other PHEV makers are using.

      If you want to make the manufacturers use a more logical formula for calculating MPG for PHEVs or list average battery range and true EPA MPG rating seperately, then write an article about that. I see no reason to go after AFS exclusively.

      And that breaks my record for most acronyms in a two paragraph span.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That sedan actually has a pretty cool 90's retro style to it. I wouldn't mind seeing that on more future cars.

      I wish car companies would first work on making light, aerodynamic bodies with narrow tires and frugal engines before going down the hybrid road. Cars can be tweaked to be pretty damn efficient even with current tech.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice to see morons on these threads support the Big 3 scum who have sold you crap and you take up the wazoo while putting down, innovative, fresh new companies.

      I can definitely see the path this country is going to take. And it's also clear we can't put the blame solely on the companies...it's stupid people too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't see why everyone has jumped on AFS. There rationale for mileage figures would fit the profile of a very large percentage of commuters. Although a lot of drivers would get lower mileage figures (Commercial Applications) a great deal more could conceivable get much better mpg figures. After all what ultimately counts is your total cost per mile driven & when it's Electric vs Petroleum there is no contest.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, yes, their MPG number can be very deceiving, but I want to say that many owners of the AFS Trinity could potentially get away with only purchasing 2 gallons of fuel a week even though driving over 300 mi. That is a valuable concept that should be stated as is.

      Bottom line: more information should be specified by AFS, Wh/mi, drive cycle trends, etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have no doubt AFS has some decent technology--hell, at least they're trying. But if Big Auto doesn't want to embrace them, they do not have to. AFS needs a new business model...

      So, why not buy the gliders and do what Tesla has done essentially?

      Why not do after-market conversions?

      If no one will buy, bye-bye AFS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Kudos to Sebastian, Brn, Peter G, Northern Piker, and others!

      (BTW, I hope others realize the AFS press release, quoted above, is just that. It is not a news report written by a reporter, though it seems intended to appear like one.)

      It is great to see some rational thinking on the issue of efficiency ratings for PHEVs. These ratings, for conversions and upcoming production vehicles, have ranged from wildly optimistic to near fraud, in my view. By simply changing the drive pattern, you can dramatically change the “mileage”. That alone demonstrates that the vehicle efficiency is not being measured: In going from 20 mpg to 150 to 1140 (all possible values for the AFS vehicle using their style of calculation) the vehicle does not change at all. The only change is the driving pattern.

      Suppose you make just a slight change to the AFS pattern, from six days at 40 miles and one at 80 to six days at 40 miles and one at 45. Then you will have driven 285 miles on ¼ gallon of gasoline: 1140 MPGe (!!!), supposedly. Why did they not use that figure? Because people would then question the calculations. To avoid questions, and to lead people to believe the vehicle is highly efficient, (which it is not) they instead pick a figure they think they can get away with, and then construct a drive pattern to match.

      Aptera uses the same technique. Their vehicle gets 120 mpg in charge-sustaining mode, and 10 miles per kWh. (When viewed well-to-wheels, using the federal value found in the CAFE law, 10 m/kWh works out to 123 MPGe, incidentally.) These are excellent figures. To make their 300 mpg seem reasonable, (but not too high) they come up with a patently silly drive cycle: 120 miles per day (43,000 miles per year!). If they used exactly the same drive cycle proposed by AFS, they would show 1/3 of a gallon of fuel used (40 miles at 120 mpg) in 320 miles: 960 MPGe. That value would make people say “Wait!! What the heck do you mean?” So they pick a more believable figure: 300 mpg, and then construct a drive pattern to match, and hope you will ignore the fact that 120 miles per day in a commuter vehicle is silly.

      On my website (see http://www.gaiatransport.com) I show, for illustration, how my own vehicle can be rated at 6000 MPG. In fact, it is barely more efficient than the Aptera: i.e., about 120 mpg or 10 miles per kWh.

      MPGe is so inherently ambiguous that it should not be used for PHEVs. As others have said here, the best way to measure these vehicles is: 1. miles per kWh when running as an EV, 2. mpg when running in charge sustaining mode, and 3. range on the battery pack (which is implicitly stated in PHEV 30, PHEV 50, etc.) This strategy is quite game-proof and fraud-proof, and also avoids the problem of assigning dollar values, which vary too much from place to place and from time to time. The AFS vehicle, rated this way, would get 20 mpg on gasoline alone, about 2.5 miles per kWh on batteries (30.75 MPGe, per fed WTW), and would be a PHEV 40. Simple, straightforward, and intuitively right: a heavier than standard SUV is obviously not a 150 mpg vehicle (twice the mileage of a tiny scooter!!??).
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