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Introducing nanoFLOWCELL – Latest Tech Designed to Improve Car Efficiency

March 10, 2014

The 2014 Geneva Motor Show is far from done, but it has already showcased many impressive rides. Aside from the vehicles, the newest car technologies also proved to be a draw. One of the most interesting things that the auto show has shown so far is the technology that powers the Quant e-Sportlimousine concept car: the nanoFLOWCELL technology.

The startup named nanoFLOWCELL is behind the Quant e-Sportlimousine, an electric sedan that utilizes nanoFLOWCELL technology. Nunzio La Vecchia, the startup’s founder, partnered with German company Bosch to create the concept car. The Quant’s electric drive system features four separate motors that provide 920 horsepower, as well as a rechargeable energy storage system called a flow cell. In the realm of autos, flow cell proves to be a very distinct idea.

A flow cell, which is similar to a battery, brings together elements of fuel cells as well as electrochemical accumulator cells. Two diverse liquid electrolytes, typically metallic salts in aqueous compounds, are stored in tanks and circulated through the flow cell. Found in the core of the system is a membrane that isolates the electrolytic compounds yet enables the electric charge to pass and power the drivetrain.

What makes nanoFLOWCELL’s technology remarkable is that compared to lithium-ion batteries and other traditional energy storage systems, it is low weight and has high charge and high performance density. According to La Vecchia, his company’s flow cell has a performance-to-weight ratio that is five-times more than lithium-ion technologies available at present. What this means is that the flow cell can deliver a driving range that is five times more than what a lithium-ion battery of the same weight can offer.

The flow cell in the Quant e-Sportlimousine is mentioned to have a 120 kWh storage capacity, exceeding the 85 kWh capacity of the largest battery of the Tesla Model S. Meanwhile, its driving range is set at 372 miles. La Vecchia said that charging is performed through the replacement of the electrolytic compounds but did not provide further information.

After showcasing the Quant e-Sportlimousine in Geneva, the startup’s next move is to build four working prototypes that will be tested in the real world. La Vecchia intends to have a small production run of automobiles powered by nanoFLOWCELL technology in the future.

2014 is not La Vecchia’s first appearance in the Geneva car show. In 2010, he launched the first Quant concept—the NLV Quant electric supercar. The full-scale model was revealed in the 2009 auto show, but the near-production version was shown a year later. The full-scale model Quant, which was a solar-electric four-seater, was developed with Swedish brand Koenigsegg. As for the near-production vehicle, it was created with the help of NLV Solar AG, another Swedish company.

The NLV Quant is a rear-wheel-drive that features two AC induction electric motors (which together has an output of 512 horsepower and 527 pound-feet of torque), a carbon-fiber monotube backbone chassis, as well as a power storage system named Flow Accumulator Energy Storage (FAES). The supercar, whose body measures 16 feet in length, also includes several infotainment display screens, LED detailing and tri-zone climate control.

 Photo credit: Johnny Ainsworth/ Flickr/ CC BY

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