Quant e-Sportlimousine drives on flow-cell battery power
By C.C. Weiss
February 27, 2014
Lichtenstein-based start-up NanoFlowcell will reveal a working prototype it calls the Quant e-Sportlimousine at next week's Geneva Motor Show. More than just a concept car or styling exercise, the car showcases "an entirely new energy storage system."
Geneva will be a coming out party for NanoFlowcell AG, a research and development company that formed late last year. We don't know too much about the company, but it says that it's focused on the development of drive technology and has been experimenting with quantum chemistry and molecular engineering. Outside of the big promise quoted above, the company is holding its tongue on the details of the NanoFlowcell drive.
The name "Quant" may sound familiar, particularly when in the context of the Geneva Motor Show. Koenigsegg showed an electric supercar by the very same name and logo at the 2009 Geneva show.
The Koenigsegg Quant was developed with NLV Solar, whose Nunzio La Vecchia is the founder of NanoFlowcell. That car used a combination of solar cells and "Flow Accumulator Energy Storage" to reserve power for its 512-hp electric motor. The latter certainly sounds like the starting point for, if not just a different name of, NanoFlowcell technology.
We're a little wary of an "entirely new" technology from someone whose last revolutionary design never made it past the auto show circuit. That said, there has been a lot of recent talk about electrochemical flow batteries, which sounds to be what the NanoFlowcell storage system is. We've looked at flow battery research from the likes of MIT and Harvard, and the Quant should provide a glimpse at how such technology can power an electric vehicle.
Flow batteries hold the promise of some game-changing breakthroughs for electric vehicles (yeah, we've heard that about other technologies, too). Last summer, GE teamed with Berkeley Lab to pursue a water-based flow battery design that it believes could price it 75 percent lower than traditional EV batteries while offering more than 240 miles (386 km) of driving range. The research is part of the US Department of Energy's ARPA-E RANGE program. Flow batteries also have the promise of recharge times in line with gas tank fueling.
Whatever NanoFlowcell's specific battery formula is, it's housed in a four-seat sports car. That's the same style as the Koenigsegg Quant, but the Quant e-Sportlimousine is stretched out to 17 ft (5.25 m). The front and rear teaser photos show a visually interesting design with a double-bubble roof, curvy front fenders, and plenty of room for airflow. It definitely has some visual changes from the Quant we saw in 2009.
NanoFlowcell seems determined to prove its plans to see this iteration of the Quant through, announcing a partnership with Germany's Bosch Engineering last week.
"In the coming months and years, we will work with our system development partner Bosch Engineering GmbH on further development and international homologation of the Quant e-Sportlimousine," La Vecchia explained in the announcement. "Transforming an initial prototype with NanoFlowcell powertrain into a series-production vehicle that can be used around the world is a big challenge. We are certain that we can manage it with this established and experienced partner."
We'll be sure to get the full details about the Quant e-Sportlimousine and its NanoFlowcell technology at the Geneva Motor Show. It will be one of many interesting debuts and concept cars.