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Automotive powertrain technology provider Ricardo and kinetic energy storage company (that's flywheel batteries to you, Johnny) AFS Trinity revealed pictures of a plug-in hybrid-car prototype — the AFS Trinity Concept Car — that will house a hybrid-drive system the companies are developing in a joint venture. Dubbed the Extreme Hybrid (XH), the drivetrain could one day wring 250 mpg from a five-passenger sedan, according to AFS, using lithium batteries that can be recharged by the power grid and specialized software to manage the various functions. Prius hackers and activists (hacktivists?) have long argued hybrids' real benefit to consumers is hamstrung by an inability to recharge the cars' batteries from a wall outlet, which could quadruple the range of a typical hybrid according to AFS, and have created plug-in versions of the Prius that get higher mileage but top out at 33 mph. The companies plan to license the system to automakers, though despite a test of plug-in delivery trucks by Daimler-Chrysler, it's not clear whether they'll bite. [UPDATE: Rear shot with 50% less Oldsmobile Aurora after the jump.]

AFS Trinity Power

How to Void Your Toyota Warranty, 101: Hacking the Prius [internal]

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