The nanoFlowcell all-wheel electric drive in the QUANT 48VOLT has a maximum output of 760 hp (560 kW) and to power that massive output, energy is provided by a flow cell with six membranes which can deliver a sustained supply of 300 kWh. Sounds complicated?
However, it enables the QUANT 48VOLT to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in less than 2.4 seconds, reach a top speed of more than 300 km/h and cover a range of more than 1,000 kilometres without
You Refill this one, not Recharge!
Hey! Wait a minute. A thousand kays on a single refuel? We thought this was an electric car. More complications.
Actually, this highly intriguing tech uses a flow cell to generate power on-board the vehicle. So, instead of plugging it into the wall socket for a recharge, you fill its twin 159-litre on-board tanks with ‘two ionic liquids’. These liquids interact and create electricity to propel the car.
Named ‘bi-Ion’, the fluid is a water solution containing both organic and inorganic salts.
FYI, NASA gave up on this tech in the 1970s because the energy density was abysmal, but nanoFlowcell’s enigmatic and enthusiastic chief technical officer Nunzio la Vecchia’s 16 years of work on the chemistry has apparently yielded the necessary breakthrough to beat a lithium-ion battery’s storage capacity, so far as storage capacity to weight ratio is concerned.
Watch: Explainer video from the company [we would have loved more technical details though];
Safe like er, water!
Because the fuel is essentially saltwater, it’s abundant and can be produced almost anywhere on Earth (again, the exact process is a closely-guarded secret, but la Vecchia says it could be made widespread and totally carbon-free.)
It’s also safe – not volatile like petrol – so it’s easy to store and transport around. Makes crash safety grade too because there’s almost zero chance of kaboom.
“The bi-Ion doesn’t have a shelf-life either, unlike petrol. And that’s before you get to putting it into the car, which you do via a twin-nozzle pump. Just like filling your car with petrol or diesel, it’s a five-minute pit-stop with no cable adaptor or charging bay anxiety.” – BBC Top Gear in a review of their flow cell tech vehicle, 2016.
Watch: A physical demo of the flow cell tech from 3 years ago.
Formula E could approve flow cell tech in 2018-19 season!
When Formula E began, the concept was to keep costs low by strictly regulating every aspect of the race cars. Same chassis, same transmission, same motor, same battery control system, same brakes, and same tires. The idea worked brilliantly. Formula E is the fastest growing auto racing series in the world, with a waiting list of world cities anxious to get on this iconic event’s calendar.
But Formula E is slowly relaxing the rules to permit the teams to innovate, and what could be more innovative than using a new ground breaking battery tech? That’s what nanoFlowcell wants to do. It is in negotiations with Formula E and the FIA, that would allow it to field a team powered by its proprietary 48 volt flow battery.
NanoFlowcell would use a scaled down version of the powertrain that’s in its QUANT. For the 2018/2019 season, Formula E will limit battery capacity to 54 kWh and motor output to 250 kW.
“We have almost perfected the nanoFlowcell 48 volt electric drive and are confident that our flow-cell system is superior to the lithium-ion battery technology currently used in electric vehicles, and is capable of leading the premium motorsport class for electric sports cars,” says Nunzio La Vecchia, developer of the nanoFlowcell.
“Racing success in Formula E — just like our success in flow cell research — is hard fought, but we’re showing that we’re not shying away from the competition.” Vecchia Adds.
Watch: QUANT FE Moving Shots – 2016
What we think?
# Has anyone actually seen this flowcell in action? This whole Nanoflowcell baffles us.
# Looks like they’ve got humongous amounts of industrial inertia to overcome when it comes to replacing hydrocarbon based motive power without doing away with fuel tanks? We bet gasoline looked like snake-oil when everyone had horses.
# Having “charged” liquids simply isn’t feasible – presumably one liquid donates an electron and the other donates a positive ion, like in a simple voltaic cell. If that’s the case then it’s not anything revolutionary. How these guys are really doing it remains to be seen.
Note on the nanoFlowcell cars;
NanoFlowcell is clear that they are a tech company, not a carmaker. And the Quantino, and its 920 bhp sibling, the Quant FE, are merely demonstrators of the tech. Both have been road legalised, but will never be mass produced or sold. Instead, the company is in talks with a major automaker to sell its propulsion concept soon. The world is waiting for this tech to hit main street for sure, so we will hear about this again. 🙂