AFS Trinity says it has a system that can boost the mileage of cars and SUVs to 150 miles per gallon. The organizers of the L.A. Auto Show, however, say the company has to prove it first.
The company, which makes a plug-in hybrid system that includes ultracapacitors, has pulled out of next week's big car show after a dust-up with the organizers.
First, AFS said it could only get exhibition space in the basement of the convention center.
Then, the organizers told the company that it couldn't state that its system could boost mileage to 150 miles per gallon. Exhibitors and advertisers can only quote figures verified by the EPA, show organizers said, according to AFS. The show organizers then told the small company that its figures were only estimates. AFS' figures are also based on a calculation that – although loved by electric automakers – isn't calculated the same way as regular automakers and the EPA do the numbers.
AFS says there's an underlying motive. The car show is owned by the auto dealers and this is a technology that doesn't come from Detroit.
"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 Furia, Chairman and CEO of AFS Trinity in a prepared statement. "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."
The company has shown prototypes at several conferences (see Plug-In Cars on Parade). The system is similar to the hybrid system being installed in the Chevy Volt. The car drives on electricity, with gas kicking in only after the electric systems are depleted.
The 150-miles-per-gallon estimate, however, is achieved only if normal driving patterns are taken into account. The average American drives 40 miles or less a day. AFS's system allows a car to run on electricity for the first 40 miles. To gets its mileage figure, the company estimated that a typical driver will go 40 miles a day for six days and drive 80 miles on one weekend day. That gives a car 160 miles per gallon, which the company says it rounds down to 150 miles per gallon.
The EPA does not take driving patterns into account.
AFS is one of a number of companies – ApowerCap Technologies and EEStor among them – trying to bring ultracapactors to the car market. The components charge far quicker than batteries and can store large amounts of power. However, they are also extremely expensive a nd the technology can be tricky. Although some proponents believe that ultracapacitors could power car motors directly, others want to put them in cars as a way to recharge batteries that will power the car. EEStor has delayed its ultracapacitors a few times now see Sounds Like EEStor Has Delayed Again).
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