Quant e-Sportlimousine Nanoflowcell Electric Car Hits the Road of Germany

It seats four, has full-length gull-wing doors that grant access to both front and rear seats, and stunning super car looks. Its launch video — a heady mix of full-on soundtrack, adrenaline-pumping drive-by shots and special effects — could put many Hollywood studios to shame.  Its performance specifications are in Tesla territory.

With a claimed 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of over 217 mph, the Quant e-Sportlimousine could become the next big thing in the automotive world if it successfully passes testing and enters into production.  Yet it isn’t the e-Sportlimousine’s claimed 372 mile range or four-wheel drive capabilities that make this car stand apart from others. The unusual flow cell technology used in lieu of a conventional battery pack is, along with the salt water it uses as a power source.

Sexy, fast, and innovative, the Quant e-Sportlimousine has been approved for European road testing.

Sexy, fast, and innovative, the Quant e-Sportlimousine has been approved for European road testing.

Approved last week by the German road safety authority known as Technischer Überwachungsverein (TÜV for short) for road testing, the Quant e-Sportlimousine is powered by two tanks of liquid electrolyte which pass through a specially-designed membrane, generating electric current and powering the car’s powerful motors.

The technology — something Quant calls ‘nanoFLOWCELL’ — was debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, but it didn’t get a whole lot of attention from mainstream press.

Now with the car approved for testing, that’s changing, with the Quant hitting the headlines as a car which could change the way we think about batteries forever.

Flow cells — or flow batteries as they are sometimes called — work by passing two liquids (electrolytes) containing different chemical components either side of a specially-designed membrane. While the two liquids do not mix and stay in their own closed system, an electrical reaction takes place between the two liquids as they pass over either side of the membrane, inducing an electrical current.

Essentially then, flow cells operate in a similar way to a traditional battery, but instead of the electrolyte living inside the battery, flow cells store their electrolyte outside of the battery in discrete storage tanks.

The unusual gull wing doors give access to the front and rear of the car.

The unusual gull wing doors give access to the front and rear of the car.

This makes it possible for discharged electrolyte to be pumped out of the tank and replenished with fresh, fully charged electrolyte in the same time it takes to fill a car with gasoline. Spent electrolyte can then be recovered and recharged away from the vehicle, allowing for a quick refill without worrying about damage due to rapid recharging. In the case of the e-Sportlimousine, salt water is used as an electrolyte, something that’s abundant around the world.

Quant says the e-Sportlimousine has a 120 kilowatt-hour storage capacity, made possible by ultra-high density flow cells and two large electrolyte tanks taking the place of traditional, heavy battery pack materials. Some back of the napkin maths suggests that the Quant e-Sportlimousine will have an energy efficiency of around 3.1 miles per kilowatt-hour.

While that’s hardly groundbreaking — the Tesla Model S has a similar efficiency — the prospect of being able to recharge in minutes rather than hours will ensure this vehicle gets a whole lot of attention.

As you'd expect, the cockpit is suitably fruturistic

As you’d expect, the cockpit is suitably fruturistic

If that isn’t enough to get you interested however, there’s something else you should know about the Quant e-Sportlimousine. The company behind it — NanoFlowcell — was founded by Nunzio La Vecchia, a physicist and electrochemical engineer who worked at NLV Solar to develop the Koenigsegg Quant concept car. Powered by a combination of photovoltaic solar panels and something called the ‘Flow Accumulator Energy Storage’ system, the Koenigsegg Quant is essentially the e-Sportlimousine’s ancestor.

As you might have guessed from the name, it was also car developed and supported in collaboration with Christian von Koenigsegg, founder of Swedish supercar company Koenigsegg. A known electric car fan and owner of a Tesla Model S, von Koenigsegg has been looking for a way into the electric car world for many years, and it looks like he’s finally found his niche.

Of course, it’s a long way from prototype road-testing to showroom, but if successful this could be the car to change the way we fill up (and charge) forever, using a technology we used to think was the stuff of April Fools day pranks.

Watch this space.

 

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  • Michael Thwaite

    This seems a bit amazing for a Wednesday. If this is legit, affordable and practical in mass production, plus, if we can refuel at home… I’d hate to have to go back to gas stations, do we have a whole new paradigm?

    • CDspeed

      They will need to figure out some sort of all new fueling station, because they’ll need to pump out the old fluid, and then refill it with new fluids. I’d like to see how this car is refueled in reality.

  • CDspeed

    The problem they’re going to have is the same as hydrogen or battery swapping, there are no electrolyte fueling stations. The refueling alone will be a big hurtle for this car, in a way it reminds me of Better Place. Its one thing to introduce a car powered by something other then gasoline, but introducing a new fuel, or fueling method at the same time is a massive undertaking. And as in the case of Better Place it proved too big a challenge for one new company to handle. So they will not only have to prove the technology in the car, but they’re going to have to figure out how to make electrolyte refueling easy for customers to use, and get the infrastructure up and running. It’s not going to be as easy as Tesla’s Superchargers or charging in general, we’ve had access to electricity for more then a century. I think charging is the way to go because it is so easy, and we don’t need to seek out other solutions, we just have to give batteries time to evolve.

    • Surya

      Agreed, I was thinking exactly the same as I was reading the article.

    • D. Harrower

      One advantage this could have over hydrogen is that it doesn’t need to be made first (or does it, how strict are the specs on the “salt water”?)

    • Dani Silva

      From what I read before (not in this article) you can also plug the vehicle to an electric outlet and charge the liquid. So, in this case, you could still use it before the refilling stations arrive.

      • H.P. Loathecraft

        It’s possible that the vehicle could be designed to store spare tanks of charged fuel on board that are changeable by the user, thereby tripling the card’s range. Motors are located at the wheels so a more conventional car could be specially configured, like Tesla’s two trunks/boots, to maximise storage for extra fuel.nI am assuming that the tanks are not especially large and the absence of flammable liquids/vapours should make them safe to handle.n

  • Free

    I am happy to hear that they solved the recharge time problem that other electric cars have. I just hope that they made it cost effective. Cost is the real reason why electric and hydrogen cars aren’t taking off.

  • John

    This would be wonderful and governments should be involved in setting up the infrastructure………flat-out. Of course who is in control of government mostly??Time to re-tool or get out of the way. Quant I appreciate your efforts but this is something that no one private individual should have a stranglehold on!! I say private because in this country corporations have the distinction of being private individuals and taxed accordingly(how messed up is that) Don’t know if you do that in Germany too? This could save our asses as a species, the time for greedy wealth is passe` when it comes to the breathable future of our planet. Time to pay it forward,time to pay it back. This should not be held back because of profit potentials. This does not have to be expensive, we are in control,not the numbers. On the flip side….the same amount of wealth can be attained through volume sales. The volume in this case is monumental, how much is enough? Humans if you blow this one, you deserve it.

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