Next month in Geneva nanoFlowcell AG will unveil its fully revised 1,075 horsepower all-electric QUANT F which shall sport a range of 500 electric miles from its salt-water-based fuel cell system.
The work behind this all-wheel-drive car with price undisclosed but formerly estimated north of $1 million builds on work underway since 1991 for the company formally established in 2013. Its makers at last year’s Geneva International Motor Show showcased the QUANT E which was called an “e-Sportlimousine” capable of 0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds and top speed of 217.5 mph.
This year, the QUANT F driven by a variant of a fuel cell technology is more powerful, runs farther, is more refined, says the company. Its exterior is 100-percent homologation ready, the interior is 90-percent, and this vehicle may be one of the most advanced zero-emission vehicles known.
“The QUANT F is a complete re-design of its predecessor, the QUANT E, and stands apart not only in terms of appearance with its red color but also as a result of the integration of newly developed technical components, said Chief Technical Officer Nunzio La Vecchia. “We have achieved a further improvement in performance figures with the nanoFlowcell. With the QUANT F we are currently able to attain peak output of 1090 PS/801.69 kW [1,075 horsepower] for a limited duration and a maximum rated voltage of 735 V (previously 600 V). This represents a massive increase for an electric vehicle.”
La Vecchia added nanoFlowcell AG is not interested in exaggerating power figures, but rather these estimates are a demonstration of what is technically feasible for this unique flow cell system.
In lay terms a form of saltwater is used in what has been called a “battery,” and this is essentially correct as the flow cell that provides the power for electric motors uses an ionic liquid that is saline and aqueous.
“Instead of using hydrogen and oxygen as in a conventional fuel cell, we work with two ionic fluids – one with a positive charge and one with a negative charge,” said La Vecchia.
The ionic liquid is contained in two 250-liter (66 gallon) tanks for 500 liters (132 gallons) total which account for the 800 km (500 mile) estimated range for the car now billed as faster than 186 mpg (300 kph). These changes in the vehicle’s development over the past nine months yielded 30-percent more range over the QUANT E in 2014. Questions about availability, cost, and practicality of this otherwise eco-friendly high volume of ionic solution were not addressed but the effort is still underway said La Vecchia.
“We are only in the initial phase of our development work,” he said. “The fact that we store the energy for our drive in a fluid provides us with enormous advantages over systems employed to date in the field of electric mobility. We can use all the cavities in the vehicle to transport the ionic liquid. As the liquid is neither flammable nor toxic, we believe we are absolutely on the right track with this medium.”
A video posted March 2014 of the former QUANT E that has nearly 1.5 million views, 5,149 likes and only 97 dislikes indicates what this car is about, and that the concept has met mostly positive response.
The QUANT’S prodigious power is put down through a 2-speed automatic transmission either via a “permanent 4×4 all-wheel-drive” system or the front-drive wheels can be de-clutched for rear-wheel drive best suited for high-speed acceleration and tracking. Four independent wheel motors do the pushing and pulling.
A technological showcase, the vehicle now boasts a 2-stage aerfoil that deploys at 80 kph (50 mph) to add downforce to the rear wheels.
“Thanks to its aerodynamic design, the QUANT F achieves outstanding drag coefficients,” said Nunzio La Vecchia. “The 2-stage rear aerofoil enables the driver to apply the necessary grip to the road for even sportier driving, even at extremely high speeds and acceleration rates. It’s the ultimate thrill behind a steering wheel.”
Successive milestones have been crossed for the company and its conspicuous vehicle intended to push fuel cell technologies.
As mentioned the vehicle’s interior is 100-percent homologation compatible and inside it’s 90 percent, but more details need to happen for the car which will be shown March 3 at the Geneva Auto Show.
“Homologation requirements currently still require to be met with regard to the font display, the airbags, the complex crash tests and formal tests and documentation,” said La Vecchia. “The crash tests are to be carried out in the USA and in Germany. Though I must say the idea of putting such a fascinating car through a crash test really grates on me.”
Progress has included previous prototypes, for nanoFlowcell AG formally founded in late 2013. The company in July 2014 was granted a road-going license in Europe and the company is preparing for business.
“The next milestone for the company will be obtaining the permit to go into series production and developing other uses for the nanoFlowcell in different sectors of industry and business,” said the company.
Two subsidiaries of nanoFlowcell AG established for this purpose are nanoProduction GmbH in Waldshut/Germany and nanoResearch SA in Switzerland.