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June 4, 2008

Hybrid SUV goes 40 miles without gas

Firm adds plug-in systems to Vues


SEATTLE -- Sitting at a red light, Ed Furia explained the attributes of his company's new so-called extreme hybrid SUV-150. The speedy vehicle can go 40 miles without using any gas.

A blue Ford Ranger pickup pulled up beside the XH-150, whose side reads, "Fast Energy Storage. 150MPG."

"That's pretty good mileage. You've got me beat," the pickup's driver said to Furia.

"By a long shot. What's your mileage?" Furia inquired.

"Eighteen," the man replied and drove off.

Furia is founder and CEO of AFS Trinity Power Corp., headquartered in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. AFS Trinity says it has the only working plug-in hybrid vehicles with a 40-mile "all-electric" range.

The car's claim of 150 mies per gallon calculated using average American driving patterns according to the U.S. Department of Transportation and following the Environmental Protection Agency's urban-highway standards.

The figure roughly assumes five days of 40-mile drives -- using no gas -- and a weekend day of driving 100 miles, using 2 gallons of gas.

Around 80% of Americans drive less than 40 miles a day, according to Furia, which he says means a person could actually drive the XH-150 for months without needing to fill up on gasoline.

The company added its patented "fast energy" battery system to two showroom Saturn Vue Greenline hybrids to create the XH-150. Capable of going from 0-60 m.p.h. in 6.9 seconds, the XH-150 is part muscle car, part green car.

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