LAURENS, South Carolina, Jan. 12, 2008

Extreme Hybrid Showcases Green Technology

Innovative Energy Storage Devices Let One Concept Car Drive 40 Miles On Electric Power Alone

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    A prototype for an "extreme hybrid" car that runs for 40 miles at 60 m.p.h. on battery power alone is on exhibit at Detroit's International Auto Show. Seth Doane reports.

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(CBS)  From the outside, the AFS Trinity Power Corporation's concept vehicle looks almost unremarkable.

But the company's Chief Technology officer, Don Bender, took CBS News correspondent Seth Doane for a drive in it and told him that he absolutely loves this car.

The technology tucked inside is called "XH", or "extreme hybrid" and that is what makes this automobile revolutionary.

"The idea," Bender says, "is to make it feel familiar, to make it feel good and make it feel ordinary. It's not supposed to be exotic."

What is exotic about the car is that owners can, in part, trade trips to the gas pump for a simple electrical plug.

Finally, a "plug-in hybrid" powerful enough to accelerate to sixty miles per hour in about ten-seconds, with the range to run forty miles on battery power alone.

According to figures from the 2003 National Highway Travel Survey, that's enough to get roughly eighty percent of Americans through their daily routine.

"So," Doane asked Bender, "for most people going to the store, running errands, getting to work, those typical things - you could take this car; it would run on battery all of the time?"

"It would never burn a drop of gasoline," Bender answered.

After those 40 miles, the car switches to a standard gas-powered engine.

The innovation lies in special energy storage devices called ultra-capacitors or ultra-caps, which kick in during acceleration to protect the lithium-ion batteries.

Historically, electric cars have been mostly experimental, with limited range and performance. The problem has been developing durable and safe batteries with enough power to run a big machine.

"All electric vehicles were plagued by the same problem, which was the battery," said AFS Trinity's Ed Furia, who has ushered this technology from plan to the parkway. He says it could signal a wholesale change.

"If you can go to work, come back, plug it in, get up the next day and do that every day and not burn a drop of gasoline," Furia suggested. "Everything else follows."

The manufacturer estimates this technology will add another $8,500 to the sticker price of any car, but claims it will pay for itself in three to five years when you factor in the gasoline savings.

Getting this plug-in hybrid prototype to a track, where it operates pretty much like a normal vehicle, has been a process that's taken some 15 years, Doane reports, and it's been a labor of love.

For Furia, once a co-founder of Earth Day and EPA official, developing this technology has been a dream.

"It's almost too exciting to express," he said.

And getting behind the wheel is quite emotional.

"What we're doing is engaging in something that could produce massive change," Furia said slowly, "so there's a lot of resistance to that."

Furia hopes this technology could eventually help free Americans from pain at the pump, and America from its growing dependence on oil.

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Add a Comment See all 25 Comments
by pepperwood2 January 17, 2008 1:08 AM EST
"If you can go to work, come back, plug it in, get up the next day and do that every day and not burn a drop of gasoline," Furia suggested. "Everything else follows."

The manufacturer estimates this technology will add another $8,500 to the sticker price of any car, but claims it will pay for itself in three to five years when you factor in the gasoline savings.

Wow...Groovy....Socko! What I like best is the up to 40 miles between recharging and the Savings that will pay for itself in up 5 years.

Wait until PPL finds out then they can double the rate charged for electricity to Mr. & Mrs. America. Aw shucks they''re doing that now. You still may be able to pay for it in up to 10 yrs. right??

But look new disposal batteries, new technology they will probably be guaranteed for 50 years?? Right?? Aw Shuckins no guarantees or warranties all you do is dispose of them along the road like we do with all our rechargeable batteries with the new technologies.

Aw More need to pay for having them disposed at a special recycling point.

Why can''t we employ more battery powered equipment for use in the home to save big time. Aw drat....the power grid during the hot summer cannot accommodate the extra electricity it takes to run AC & all our battery powered accomodations. Sounds Like another Green Team IDeeeaarr.

Fool me once shame on me. Fool me twice Just get used to the idea. Right!

Double Drat I can hear the Clintons & Al Gore CACKLING all the way to the Bank.

Reply to this comment
by rf35 January 14, 2008 7:26 PM EST
Come on lochlan, this is an opinion area...people are entitled to form an opinion without knowing any facts!
Reply to this comment
by lochlan-2009 January 14, 2008 4:01 PM EST
It is amazing how little people know about science. If you are interested enough to post here, spend the hour or two learning all the information browsing the web, that they didn''t put in the article. Start with the EV-1 and go from there.
Reply to this comment
by rf35 January 14, 2008 3:36 PM EST
This would get me around my daily route. And where I live, I don''t pay for electricity. Sign me up! I''ll take the convertable model.
Reply to this comment
by godseyesore-2009 January 14, 2008 12:47 PM EST
An additional $8500??!!!
I paid less than half that for a used 90 Toyota that consistently gets 32mpg, STILL. ''Payback'' becomes meaningless.
When vehicles are available far exceeding gas mileage requirements of US standards (and so for 18 years,
it shows how shameful the US auto industry and the lackey congress was, is, and will be. US politics sucks and the world suffers.
Reply to this comment
by istesso January 14, 2008 10:52 AM EST
"revolutionary" is the incorrect word. the capacitor type, NOT BATTERY, used in this car was originally invented, and described mathematically, by Hermann von Helmholtz in the 19th century. it has had many applications since. this capacitor is just a bigger higher density version. and it used activated charcoal as "plate" medium thus a way to sequester carbon and added +.
Reply to this comment
by mattyann2003 January 13, 2008 8:08 PM EST
I heard you were doing a story on s.s.disability, my husband cannot work, but they have totally turned him down.This did not change his disability he still cannot work.
Reply to this comment
by sjc_1 January 13, 2008 6:09 PM EST
AFS is going to the Detroit auto show this week to see if auto makers are interested. If they are not, they intend to raise capital and do it themselves. I wish them all the best in their efforts. We need to reduce the amount of gasoline used each year from the present 140 billion gallon per year level.
Reply to this comment
by aeasus January 13, 2008 4:27 PM EST
How about building some solar power collecters to plug the car in to each night for recharging the battery, as an acessory. Where I live electricty is more pricy than gasoline.


Posted by httpwwwnews at 01:15 PM : Jan 13, 2008

Solar collectors don''t work at
Reply to this comment
by loaddown2 January 13, 2008 3:49 PM EST
I wonder how they will address the problem of gasoline stability in the system?
These PHEVs will require some kind of check valve or built in self cleaning mechanism for the ICE power unit if you rarely go over 40 miles.
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