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AFS Trinity

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On Jan 2008 AFS Trinity announced the "150 MPG Extreme Hybrid (XH™) SUV" PHEV based on a Saturn Vue mild hybrid creating the first Saturn Vue PHEV.

While more interested in selling its technology to car manufacturers, AFT Trinity is not opposed to start converting HEVS to PHEVs on its own.

The stock Vue is a mild hybrid, and therefore unable to provide sufficient electrical drive for acceptable PHEV performance on its own. Therefore AFS Trinity adds a second electrical motor to the Vue. This motor drives the rear wheels, making this a through-the-road parallel hybrid.

Afstrinity motor.jpg

SFS Trinity claims an EV range of 40 miles. Just like the Volt, after a full charge, the car first run purely electrically. After the battery is depleted, the engine comes on and the car runs on gasoline.

From the block diagram, it appears that the PHEV conversion has the following characteristics:

  • The 16 KWh battery pack is composed of low power (high energy) lithium batteries (probably not Phosphate, or they would have said so). Same as Tesla, one would guess.
  • Ultracaps (< 1 kWh) are added to handle the power peaks, which the lithium pack cannot handle.
  • A 150 kW AC electric motor drives the rear wheels, to get sufficient power in all-electric drive
  • Power electronics are a key factor in the conversion. To the stock electronics high voltage DC bus, they add:
    • a bidirectional step-up/step-down DC-DC converter for the ultracaps
    • another bidirectional step-up/step-down DC-DC converter for the battery pack,
    • a bidirectional inverter for the additional motor
    • a synchronous rectifier for the charger

AFS Trinity states that this is patent pending technology. Yet, the technologies described above are all already well known in the industry. It appears that all the patents granted so far have to do with a flywheel design. In April 2006 AFS Trinity announced that it applied for a patent that "addresses the architecture, power electronics and control strategies of the Extreme Hybrid™ (XH™) drive train.".

AFS Trinity estimates that, if manufactured by a major car company, their solution would add $8700 to the price of the car.