SEATTLE, /PRNewswire/ -- AFS Trinity Power Corporation's fast, plug-in hybrid SUV came closer to commercialization today as the company announced it has been awarded an historic patent for its Extreme Hybrid drive train that combines ultracapacitors and other power electronics and energy storage devices with off the shelf chemical batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The company said it expects DOE and U.S. Congressional recognition of the cost, safety and performance benefits of the new technology in the form of the full plug-in hybrid tax credit of $7500 to vehicles using this breakthrough technology.

Although the tax credit is presently tied to the total energy stored in the batteries in a plug-in hybrid vehicle, the new AFS Trinity technology makes possible the use of as few as 50% as many batteries while actually increasing battery durability and performance through the use of ultracapacitors, thus driving down the total cost of the drive train and the overall plug-in hybrid vehicle cost by as much as a third. The patent provides very broad protection for the new AFS Trinity technology, covering the use of ultracapacitors, flywheels and so-called "power batteries" used to protect the main energy storage battery bank.

According to AFS Trinity Chairman and CEO Edward W. Furia, the new patent the company announced today makes possible licensing of the company's Extreme Hybrid technology to the world's auto makers so they can make roomy, high performance cars, trucks and SUV's that are less expensive than the smaller, higher priced plug-ins now being promised by carmakers.

AFS Trinity also expects that the adoption of its newly patented technology will continue to drive down the cost of plug-in hybrids for many years. According to AFS Trinity engineers, who have conducted projects for NASA, the Department of Defense and other U.S. Government and aerospace organizations, expense and performance gains of this technology are expected to increase much faster than for battery technology alone. For example, AFS Trinity Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Donald Bender explained that ultracapacitors have reduced in price much faster than batteries. He said, "Ultracapacitors now cost 100 times less than they did 15 years ago."

To increase Congressional awareness, AFS Trinity Chief Executive Officer Edward W. Furia has written to federal legislators and the Department of Energy, stating, in part:

"While our patented technology could reduce the cost of PHEVs by as much as a third it also deserves to be accorded the full plug-in tax credit of up to $7500, which is a critical selling point for consumers. Our system, which we call the Extreme Hybrid(TM) relies not on batteries alone but also on powerful electronic devices called ultra-capacitors which reduce the total number of batteries needed.

"By seamlessly integrating ultra-capacitors into the electronic propulsion system of plug-ins, the AFS Trinity system eliminates peak electric loads on the battery caused by the frequent acceleration and braking events that are part of everyday driving. This innovation allows plug-ins to travel farther on smaller, less-expensive lithium-ion batteries, while also increasing the useful life of the batteries.