All-electric Quant e-Sportlimousine uses flow cell batteries and salt water to power four motors which add up to an amazing 900hp
7/21/14 7:44 am chumakdenis 2
Over the years, a number of companies have come up with new technologies promising to boost the efficiency of cars by previously unseen levels. They tend to roll out fancy concepts, typically with wild performance claims, but these companies never seem to be able to progress beyond the concept stage for whatever reasons (we’re sure you know why).
But things have changed a lot since that time.So here we go.
The latest is a startup called nanoFLOWCELL, which at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show resented the Quant e-Sportlimousine concept car.
What makes nanoFLOWCELL so interesting is that the company’s founder, Nunzio La Vecchia, has some serious backing.
A previous Quant concept was shown by La Vecchia in 2010 and was developed together with Swedish supercar brand Koenigsegg.
That car used a combination of solar cells and "Flow Accumulator Energy Storage" to reserve power for its 512-hp electric motor.
And now we have a completely new 900hp version that uses nanoFLOWCELL batteries version that feature high charge density, high performance density, and low weight compared to conventional energy storage systems such as lithium-ion batteries.
La Vecchia claims the nanoFLOWCELL has a five-time greater performance-to-weight ratio than current lithium-ion technologies, which means its driving range would be five times greater than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight.
A lot of changes made to this car?
"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."
All-wheel drive via 4 three-phase induction motors, torque vectoring for optimal drive torque distribution
Peak power: 680 KW (925 PS); 170 KW (231.2 PS) x 4
Operating power: 480 KW (653 PS); 120 KW (163.2 PS) x 4
nominal voltage: 600 V
nominal current: 50 A
tank capacity: 2 x 200 L
0 - 100 KM/H: 2.8 S
top speed: 380 + KM/H
range: projected 400 to 600 KM
energy consumption: 20 KWH/100 KM
Dimensions and weight:
kerb weight with full tanks: 2,300 KG
wheelbase: 3,198 MM
Nanoflowcell power storage
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.
Also, 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.
The flow battery's storage capacity does not degrade over time from memory effect
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.
The 5,257-mm concept offers seating for four with gullwing access to the front and rear. The big, roof-hinged doors are reminiscent of the wings on last year's Vauxhall Monza concept.
At the front, the Quant has an interesting combination of arched fenders swooping inward and a distinctive grill and inlet design. A clamshell roof drops gently toward the rear, framing the extended four-person cabin. The rear quarter is defined by the curves of the fenders and double-bubble roof as well as the under-shell-style fascia. The "crystal lake blue" and copper paint job represents the car's liquid-based electrical powertrain.
"It was important to us that, despite its size and unusual dimensions, our four-seater Quant e-Sportlimousine would be a sporty automobile," explains La Vecchia. "The front of the car is convincing, with its pronounced shoulders, self-confident look, and clear lines. Anyone who stands in front of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine will know exactly what I mean."
The interior is arguably even more visually interesting than the body. The richly grained ash wood sweeps through the center of the seats, wrapping passenger-side and driver-side occupants in separate tubs. The wood appears solely decorative, but just underneath are integrated touch controls and LED lighting.
"The wood surfaces are so thin that a light touch of the finger on the Sensorflow icons triggers the appropriate action," says La Vecchia. "This innovation allows us use a sustainable material like wood to give you a direct connection to the digital control systems."
LED light strips
The RGB LED light strips represent the car's linear flow of electricity, providing a visual reminder of the ions popping free below. A floating "widescreen" dashboard and leather trim finish off the clean, stylish look. In place of the tachometer, the Quant has a torque indicator that shows readings for all four motors. The display also provides real-time information from the energy management system.
The Quant's infotainment system is built atop an Android platform, and an accompanying smartphone app connects to provide remote information, offer remote control, and act as a sort of access key when docked, allowing the car to start. During the drive, the smartphone becomes a touchscreen control for the infotainment system.
Approved for use on European roads
"The whole car is built with all the rules of [European] homologation," La Vecchia told us. "The design, the structure of the car, the monocoque of the car - everything is based on homologation."
The QUANT e-Sportlimousine with nanoFLOWCELL drivetrain concept has been approved by TUV Sud in Munich for use on public roads. Nunzio La Vecchia, chief technical officer at nanoFLOWCELL AG, was handed the official registration plate with number ROD-Q-2014. After in-depth inspection by TUV Sud this means that the vehicle with its nanoFLOWCELL has now been officially approved for use on public roads in Germany and Europe as a whole.
“This is a historic moment and a milestone not only for our company but perhaps even for the electro-mobility of the future. For the first time an automobile featuring flow-cell electric drive technology will appear on Germany's roads. Today we have put the product of 14 years’ hard development work on the road. This is a moment for us to celebrate. We are extremely proud that as a small company we have developed such visionary technology as the nanoFLOWCELL and are now also able to put it into practice. But this is only the beginning of our journey of discovery,” is Nunzio La Vecchia’s delighted comment on this important step in the development of the company.
Work is not over?
“At the car’s world premiere in Geneva a large number of investors and automobile manufacturers showed tremendous interest in the new QUANT e-Sportlimousine and the nanoFLOWCELL drivetrain concept, together with its wide range of possible applications. Now that the automobile has been approved for use on public roads in Germany and Europe we can enter into detailed planning with our partners, adding an exciting new chapter to the future of electro-mobility,” states chief technical officer Nunzio La Vecchia, commenting on the wide interest in the innovative drive technology represented by nanoFLOWCELL AG. “The attention received by the nanoFLOWCELL and the positive response to it has encouraged us to think about investment possibilities in the project, right up to a possible initial public offering. This would enable us to drive forward the wide range of possible applications and potential of the nanoFLOWCELL on an international scale. Initial planning and discussions are already taking place,” Nunzio La Vecchia explains.
“Here in Munich in particular, where other prestigious automobile manufacturers are advertising their electric vehicle with the slogan ‘ERSTER EINER NEUEN ZEIT’ (‘FIRST IN A NEW AGE’) or ‘THE MOST PROGRESSIVE SPORTS CAR’, we are delighted as pioneers to be able to present an automobile driven by flow cell technology on public roads, and one which achieves not only fantastic performance values but also zero emissions. With a projected top speed of over 350 km/h, acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, a torque of four times 2,900 NM, a length of over 5.25 m and a range of more than 600 km (370 miles) the four-seater QUANT e-Sportlimousine is not only a highly competitive sports car but also SEINER ZEIT VORAUS -UND ZWAR SCHON HEUTE (‘WELL AHEAD OF ITS TIME - IN FACT TODAY’),” is how technical manager Nunzio La Vecchia assesses the future possibilities of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine, with a reference to other cars produced by German automobile manufacturers in Bavaria.
“Approval of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine with the nanoFLOWCELL ® drivetrain concept is a vital step forward for nanoFLOWCELL AG. What began as the vision of Nunzio La Vecchia has now become reality. The fact that only four months after the car's world premiere in Geneva we have received approval for the use of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine with nanoFLOWCELL drivetrain concept on the road in Germany and in Europe indicates the dynamism with which our entire team is working on this project. And we are very much looking forward to the next stages of this exciting and promising journey,” states Prof. Jens-Peter Ellermann, chairman of the board of directors at nanoFLOWCELL AG. “We've got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry. The potential of the nanoFLOWCELL is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology. The nanoFLOWCELL offers a wide range of applications as a sustainable, low cost and environmentally-friendly source of energy,” is how Prof. Jens Ellermann describes the diversity of potential uses for the nanoFLOWCELL.