Buying a hybrid is currently a pastime for early adopters and those who are prepared to pay to salve their environmental conscience . Do the return-on-investment (ROI) math and you’ll realize that the fuel savings never bridge the economic rationale gap because of the higher initial cost of hybrids. That appears about to change! Ultra-capacitor-based energy storage systems have long promised a breakthrough for the automotive industry and AFS Trinity’s announcement of the real world performance specs of its plug-in Extreme Hybrid (XH) technology is landmark. In just completed road tests, a 2007 Saturn VUE Green Line SUV fitted with an XH drive train, exceeded 150 mpg, and improved the zero to sixty time from 12.5 seconds, to 11.6 second running in electric-only mode – something it can do for 40 miles at a stretch. The punchline is that in hybrid mode, it runs 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche Cayenne. Whatsmore, based on driving 340 miles a week, the company’s consumer payback analysis suggests the technology will pay for itself in less than four years – this appears to be the first economically viable, commercially-available hybrid auto technology.
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