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New Dot-Funded AFS Trinity Power Flywheel Program Launched for Hybrid Vehicles

    PASADENA, Calif.--May 13, 2002--

Alternative Energy Initiative Focuses on "Ruggedizing" Flywheel Energy Storage Systems for Use in Hybrid Trucks and Buses

    Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide $1 million in funding to AFS Trinity Power Corporation, in partnership with WestStart, to develop a flywheel as an energy storage device in hybrid electric vehicles.
    The funding will be used to conduct design and engineering work to improve flywheel motor generator (FMG) robustness and ruggedness as a necessary first step in the transition of this promising power management technology from stationary to transportation applications.
    "I am proud to have helped secure funding for an innovative Washington state company that is developing such an energy efficient technology," said Murray. "Flywheel energy storage has the potential to help reduce fuel consumption, lower vehicle emissions and reduce operating costs. And by putting more advanced flywheel batteries into hybrid vehicles, America could reduce the toxic waste problems from chemical batteries."
    WestStart has been working to support the flywheel development efforts of AFS Trinity Power since the mid-1990s. WestStart noted that the new DOT funding is addressing a need for improved energy storage technology.
    "Hybrid vehicles will play a major role in the automotive and trucking industries over the next 20 to 30 years. There is plenty of room for improved energy storage," said WestStart's President, John Boesel. "We are very appreciative of Senator Murray's support of this program. She is a leading voice in the Senate for clean and energy efficient transportation technologies."
    The flywheel is a high-speed rotating mechanism suspended by magnetic bearings in a vacuum. The low friction allows the flywheel to spin at the more than 40,000 rpm required to store sufficient kinetic energy to run an auxiliary electric motor in hybrid vehicles. In a hybrid vehicle, the flywheel provides extra power for acceleration and stores energy that would otherwise be lost in braking. Durable, lower cost flywheels can help address the energy storage challenges facing electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
    "This critical funding from the Department of Transportation will move our flywheel a step closer to the market. With this funding we will be able to 'ruggedize' the flywheel and prepare it for the harsh on-road environment," said AFS Trinity Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Edward Furia.
    AFS Trinity Power Corporation is a leader in advanced flywheel development and owns patents and other intellectual property for flywheels in a wide range of global applications. This project represents the continuation of a strong partnership between WestStart-CALSTART and AFS Trinity that began under DARPA-funded programs, which helped support the development of the AFS Trinity flywheel technology for transportation applications.
    WestStart has had an active partnership with the DOT since its inception in 1992. Over that nearly 10-year period, the DOT has provided funding for several WestStart advanced transportation technology development initiatives.
    WestStart is an advanced transportation technologies consortium that focuses on developing clean and energy efficient transportation technologies. WestStart has approximately 120 member organizations. WestStart acts as a catalyst to help these companies bring their clean, energy efficient transportation technologies to the market place. WestStart's California operating division does business as CALSTART.
    For more information regarding the AFS Trinity Power Hybrid Transportation Program contact Joseph Furia at AFS Trinity Power, 925 455 3880.