• Nov 17th 2008 at 12:57PM
  • 21
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.

[Source: AFS Trinity]


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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      @ Jeff.

      Big-oil u..s.a ,canada, mexico,venezuela, brazil,quatar, ireland, britain, irak, afgasnistan, australia, europe, russia, bengladesh, arabs, japan goverments and many others are afaid of hydrogen gas like it's a poison. The truth is the opposite, it's a powerful fuel that don't pollute at all and the quantity is limitless and it cost next to nothing once you have the machinery.

      They push batteries because it can displace 1% or 2% of petrol use maximum even if tesla and volt work and it's even not working. By giving the hope to slave-consumers that electric cars are coming they buy time and consumers will forget electric cars when gm will go in the souvenir bin with 100 000 workers in the sink. Japanese will take power for 2-3 years and maybe saudi-arabia or pakistan later on they will do like they did on the planet before this one long time ago, try to forget jesus for the ends of time in horrendous sufferings.
        • 8 Months Ago
        again please shut up Hydrogen comes From Petroleum sources, Yes electrolysis works but from water to the wheels for the h2 life cycle its worse then a ICE engine.
        Generating the energy which wind could never produce enough energy to do this large so lets go to coal thats 50% efficient now electrolysis is around 50% efficient,

        Compressing the gas into something usable is 75% efficient,
        Fuel cells are 40% efficient.
        so yeah 7.5% efficiency GO H2

        • 8 Months Ago
        Who has been spending billions of dollars for research grants to encourage the development of hydrogen fueled vehicles? The governments of USA, Japan, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Big Oil.

        Who, right now, are the worlds biggest producers of hydrogen gas? The Big Oil Companies.

        Who wants to sell that profitable new fuel when the oil supplies run low? The Big Oil Companies. Shell Oil has already installed hydrogen fuel dispensers at two of their stations, and hope to persuade the goverment to pay for installing many more.

        Sorry, Gorr, your arguments are falling flat. The Tesla Roadster works without using petrol at all, and plug-ins have the potential to displace far more than "1% or 2%" of petrol use. We can be certain that million dollar H2 cars aren't going to have much impact, as few could ever afford them.
      • 8 Months Ago
      He he...they're smoking something... Li ion batteries running at low to mid DODs will last tens of thousands of cycles. If you run them at high DOD you'll get thousands of cycles.
      It's easy to shoot down someone else's technology especially if you don't have to offer side by side data. We should let GM build the Volt and see what it does in the real world.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Go d this company is a JOKE no one should ever take them seriously. Ill annoy them cause this is just wrong.
      1 The GM battery only uses 50% of its capacity.
      so the normal 2,0000 cycles is actually closer to 4000 specially with a well designed BMS that gm will use.
      Thats at 160,000 Miles the Volt should still give 30-32 miles on EV mode only.

      • 6 Years Ago
      The battery only needs to last till February 2009, after that, there won't be a GM to warranty them.
        • 8 Months Ago
        as soon as a battery that has all of the desireable attributes is invented, the patent is bought out by chevron and scrapped............
        • 8 Months Ago
        So you created an account just to post that dribble? Good to see you plan on being a useful contributor.
      • 8 Months Ago
      just found this new battery info on the AFS website. looks like the tests erred on the side of extreme driving profiles:
      CATEGORY: Battery Testing

      AFS Trinity claims a 150,000-mile useful life for its battery/ultracap system. What is this based on? The claimed 150,000 miles useful life is based on ten months of extensive and continuous physical testing by America's leading independent battery testing laboratory, Mobile Power Solutions of Beaverton, Oregon. This laboratory subjected AFS Trinity's dual energy storage system of lithium ion batteries and ultracapacitors to a demanding duty cycle simulating an urban/highway driving cycle with strong and frequent high current demands. Such a driving cycle was meant to subject the batteries to the kind of strong and frequent loads that the energy storage system would be subjected to by an aggressive driver— think New York or Paris cabby or your teenager. The AFS Trinity system delivered more than 3,800 duty cycles before the batteries reached end-of-life. Each cycle represents a full charge and discharge. Assuming that each charge can deliver sufficient power to propel a vehicle for 40 miles, this represents 152,000 miles, which we rounded down to 150,000.

      AFS Trinity also reports that the same lithium ion batteries, used alone, without ultracapacitors, would have a useful life of only approximately 25,000 miles. What is this based on? During the same testing program, Mobile Power Systems took the same brand and type of lithium ion batteries as were used in the tests described above and subjected three different sets of them to the identical duty cycle as was used in the tests of the combined battery/ultracap system, but in these tests, they were used alone, unprotected by the ultracapacitors. In these tests the batteries reached end-of-life in 500 to 600 full charge/discharge cycles, equivalent to approximately 25,000 miles of demanding use. Again, this was an aggressive driving profile with frequent, strong current demands, as it would not make sense to conduct such battery tests positing a conservative driver who avoids strong and frequent acceleration events, as in the real world this would not always be possible.

      How do the 25,000-mile duty cycle findings above contrast to the longer battery life reported by, for example, Toyota Prius owners? The Toyota Prius hybrid uses nickel metal hybride batteries, not lithium ion. Demand on the batteries in the Prius is kept low because acceleration is provided by the gasoline engine. Nickel metal hydride Prius hybrids and aftermarket plug-in conversions of the Prius can be driven only a few miles in all electric mode and cannot operate over 34 miles per hour in all electric mode. AFS Trinity technology makes it practical to use higher energy density, off-the-shelf lithium ion batteries and to achieve longer all-electric range and much longer battery life.

      You say that your tests were based on a "demanding" driving cycle. Would tests using a less demanding driving cycle demonstrate longer life for your dual energy system or for lithium ion batteries used alone? Although we did not conduct such tests for either system, we can comfortably say that the more gentle the duty cycle, i.e. the less demanding the driver, the longer the useful life of the batteries. If, for example, the gasoline engine were used for acceleration instead of the batteries via the electric motor, far less stress would be placed on the batteries and longer battery life would be expected. However, this defeats the energy and cost saving advantages of all-electric mode and plug-in hybrids in general. Also, driving profiles that are based only on very low acceleration would also extend battery life. The AFS Trinity technology was developed so that practical plug-in hybrids could be built for all types of drivers.

      Would it be possible for reliable and cost effective lithium ion or other batteries to be developed that would be able to handle the kind of demanding plug in hybrid driving cycle you describe in these FAQs without having to protect the batteries with ultracapacitors? This is the "Holy Grail" that has been pursued, thus far unsuccessfully, by other plug in developers. Even with batteries that seem able to handle the high current demands of a plugin, issues of durability, reliability and cost still remain to be overcome. AFS Trinity wishes all other plug in hybrid developers success in this quest. This is a tent big enough for many players, and the twin goals of reducing US dependence on oil and reducing climate change related to transportation are well worth the effort by all of us.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Also, I see people pumping H as a real solution. It is not, it's a pipedream. There are some fundamental questions that need to be asked. How will the F cell technology become competitive in terms of price? Where are you going to get the H, store it and transport it? Why bother with all that when battery technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, while F cell technology has been fairly static for the past years? BTW, oil comps would love to see a H economy as they can make tons of money by selling you H from oil. The future is electric cars powered by batteries.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Simple use of windmills for hydrogen cracking... put a small hydrogen plant beneath an electric windmill, and use its power to crack hydro and fill a tank... then, every few days come unload your new hydrogen and move to the next one.

        Free power to crack hydrogen. :-)
      • 8 Months Ago
      don't forget Altair Nanotechnology and their 25,000 cycle battery-85% left at that point. They are proving their claim with the KEMA report available on their website. Check it out, if their big battery can handle i megawatt charge/discharge cycles on 4 second intervals for 4 hours and stay cool and continue to stay in service, then this battery has everything you need.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I wish ALTI batteries were the answer. They've been around long enough and looked at enough to (apparently) not be the answer. Their energy density and cost make them impractical for automotive use. Their US exclusivity agreement with Phoenix (let's hope they live up to their name) isn't helping. I'm also not confident that any innovation is taking place there to help alleviate this issue.

        I think that ALTi might find a few buyers in certain markets (busses, trains, submarines, power grids, etc.), but I'm equally certain that their current battery tech won't make a dent in the automotive marketplace. If they could somehow increase it's energy density and cheapen the cost to something close to competitive, then maybe.

        Note, this is MUCH to my detriment since I'm still holding on to this dog of a stock...
        • 8 Months Ago
        With their high cost per Kwh stored, the Altairnano batteries are still too expensive for primary power storage in EVs. Their modest energy density doesn't help, either.

        Where the Altairnano batteries might excel is use as a "power buffer" for less expensive higher energy density LiIon batteries. That is the function of the ultracaps in the AFS Trinity design, but the Altairnano batteries have higher energy density thus lower weight than ultracaps, and they might even prove to be less expensive than ultracaps as well.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Definitely BS. I've seen a certain Indian made electric car running old-tech lead acid batteries make it to this benchmark. And those batteries regularly get discharged to 20% SOC. Meanwhile the Volt is using a completely new technology, a much larger capacity pack, and still having about the same all electric drive as a Reva, meaning these batteries aren't being abused nearly as much, only using about 50% of the total capacity.

      Also, @gorr, why would Big Oil be pushing for the Volt if it doesn't even burn any gasoline most of the time?
      • 8 Months Ago
      Well, a libel suit will pretty-much kill AFS Trinity. I think they are desperate.

      I suggest they do what Tesla is doing--build something off of glider-like parts. Sell them that way... The OEMs clearly are not interest in AFS.

      One more thing...how the hell do they prove the Volt's battery only lasts 25,000 miles. Defamation at its best...
      • 8 Months Ago
      I told you that early on that afs trinity is there to attack every business when the time come with their false technology. If they were interrested to sell something they will not try to make consumer afraid of battery and electrical car technology like they do and will not black-pr Gm like they do.

      But on the serious side of thing the volt will never work because it's a utterly complicated project and will cost more then 40 000$, will have numerous problems and will offer a sub-par driving experience and still need gasoline. It's there to satisfied a mandate from federal goverment like the ev1 and tramways projects. It's there to impede hydrogen cars, trucks, trains, machinery, airplanes to satisfied big oil. Do you think that incompetants want you to have energy ? If you die first then they feel they have some little energy for them now.

      If toyota or honda or even ford and the rest of the actuals auto manufacturers persists on not offering me the car that i said to build and put on sale in my arena then not just the big three will dissapears, the japs and germans, too. It's a question of 2-3 years maximum, trust me. They are heading the sink, LOL.
      • 8 Months Ago
      They are spreading FUD (fear, uncertanty, doubt) all over in a desperate attempt to supress what they perceive as rival technology. What AFS Trinity doesn't seem to realize is by doing so, they could end up supressing the EV market, thus shooting themselves in the foot.

      While using ultracaps as a power buffer can extend battery lifespan, it also increases weight and dramatically increases the cost. Considering the high power and high cycle count capabilities of newer lithium battery designs, the Trinity design is rapidly becoming obsolete.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Today in Savannah GA I pulled in to get lunch and the only spot open was posted with a "Hybrid Vehicle Parking Only" sign.

      I suspect the '08 Ford Ranger I drive (and parked in said spot) is far "greener" in the long range than any POS hybrid with their polluting batteries that exists today or in the near future.

      Are these people idiots? Yup.

      Beware of morons with good intentions...they're generally morons.
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