900-hp supercar that’s powered by salt water
nanoFLOWCELL AG developed the QUANT e-Sportlimousine — the first car equipped with nanoFLOWCELL® drive. With the new research vehicle, Nunzio La Vecchia and his research team present an entirely new energy storage system: the nanoFLOWCELL® technology. The prototype is set to generate new impulses for research into battery development and flow-cell technology. – nanoFLOWCELL AG
One of the wildest cars at the Geneva Motor Show, the Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine is a research prototype that’s powered by salt water. More accurately, it’s powered by a flow battery that uses a special formula of ionic charge-carrying salt water as its storage medium. Not content to just electrify an average powertrain, Nanoflowcell uses its technology to send 912 horses into an all-out frenzy of spinning, smoking rubber.
We now have a clearer picture of Nunzio La Vecchia’s energy and supercar ventures than we did when we covered the Quant teaser. La Vecchia began researching alternative energy technologies in 1991, forming NLV Solar in Switzerland seven years later. He turned his attention to auto design in 2003, partnering with Koenigsegg on the original Quant in 2009 and releasing an updated version on his own a year later. Nanoflowcell emphasizes that the cooperation with Koenigsegg ended in 2009, and the 2014 Quant represents an entirely new vehicle concept.
“Following the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, it was decided to pursue a completely new concept, both optically and technically,” Nanoflowcell explains. “Every element of the Quant e-Sportlimousine has been developed from the ground up over the last four years: new powertrain, complete redesign, and most importantly, every aspect of the new prototypes are designed with homologation requirements in mind.”
The beating heart of the new Quant is its Nanoflowcell power storage, a very specific formulation of flow battery. Flow battery power for vehicle use is being researched elsewhere, as well, but the Quant becomes what Nanoflowcell qualifies as the first actual vehicle powered by it.
Nanoflowcell explains that its technology boasts five to six times the storage capacity of other flow cell designs or lithium-ion batteries, making it primed for vehicular use. It credits that superior energy density to “an extremely high concentration of ionic charge carriers in the cell system’s electrolyte” and translates it into a 249- to 373-mile (400- to 600-km) driving range estimate.
Understandably, Nanoflowcell isn’t divulging the full recipe for its flow battery or electrolytes. In its introductory video, it describes the solutions simply as salt water. La Vecchia confirmed that the full truth is a bit more complex, as the electrolytes contain a mix of metal salts and other ingredients.
The high- and low-charge solutions are stored in separate 200-liter tanks in the rear of the Quant, being pumped forward through a central cell, separated from each other by a thin membrane. This creates electricity, which flows into two supercapacitors, where it is stored and managed, released on acceleration to power the four three-phase wheel motors. Nanoflowcell says the flow technology operates with 80 percent internal efficiency.
The Quant design uses supercapacitors for their ability to release energy quickly, allowing for the sportiest performance, a reason that they’ve shown up in race cars and concepts like the Toyota Yaris Hybrid R. On the receiving end of that energy, the four motors combine for a very supercar-like 912 hp.
Beyond the robust estimated range, the Nanoflowcell system has other major advantages. When the energy in the electrolyte solutions is used up, the liquids need only be replaced, a process that is similar in ease and quickness to refueling a gasoline car. La Vecchia envisions a future where gas stations or the like will offer seamless flow cell refueling. Nanoflowcell also says that the used liquid can be recharged and used again.
Unlike in lithium-ion batteries, the flow battery’s storage capacity does not degrade over time from memory effect. Nanoflowcell claims there are no environmentally damaging components to the electrolytes and says the system does not rely on rare or precious metals.
As with any research vehicle, the Quant’s specifications need to be viewed as food for thought, not reliable, rock-solid numbers. Nanoflowcell lists a 2.8-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time and a potential 236 mph (380 km/h) top speed. Those numbers come thanks in part to the gobs of torque being cranked at each wheel. The car weighs 5,070 lb (2,300 kg).
In terms of design, La Vecchia and company did an excellent job in making a car that stands out at a show full of wild and exotic designs, without making it so overwrought as to distract from the technological story. You could walk right past many alternatively powered vehicles, never realizing what interesting technology hides underneath plain skins, but you’re going to want to stick around and learn more about a car like the Quant.
From gizmzg.com article by C.C. Weiss