NanoFlowcell? Who on Earth are they?
You might remember them as the madcap company that stunned everyone at the Geneva motor show last year with its Quant e-Sportlimousine, a vehicle that could travel around 600 kilometres on a single tank of seawater...
Seawater? As in… wait. Seawater?!
Yep, it’s all thanks to good old science. Flow cell technology uses two tanks of ionic fluids - one with a positive charge and the other with a negative charge - which creates a current that powers the electric motors.
These fluids could theoretically be a simple salty solution, like seawater. The technology has actually been around for years, and even NASA has flirted with its uses.
NanoFlowcell claims it works for its electric cars, and it’s hitting Geneva with an updated version of its initial concept called the Quant F, which is more powerful and can travel further on its tanks.
So what's this little Quantino thing?
The Quantino takes this flow cell technology and scales it down into a smaller, more practical vehicle. Think Nissan Juke powered by watery wizardry, and you’re on the right track.
NanoFlowcell claims the 2+2 Coupe, which rides on enormous 22-inch alloy wheels, can hit 200kph and drive more than 990 kilometres before its two tanks need topping up. Not bad eh?
How does it manage that?
The boffins in the Liechtenstein labs have swapped out the super powerful electric motors found in the larger Quant F and replaced them with a low-voltage drive system, similar to that found in golf carts and e-scooters, which contains four 25kW electric motors producing a total of 136bhp.
Nunzio La Vecchia, chief technical officer of the project, says that low-voltage systems are easier to put into production, as they adhere to less stringent safety laws.
It all sounds a bit far-fetched...
It does sound crazy, but NanoFlowcell says the Quantino packs two 175-litre ionic fluid tanks that can be topped up in the same sort of time it takes to refuel a normal car. Those tanks are also good for more than 990 kilometres of all-electric motoring and last time we checked, salt water is a lot cheaper than petrol.
What about infrastructure?
Excellent point. Quantino owners will require a fuelling station that specialises in negatively and positively charged ionic fluids, and a quick Google search reveals that there are currently none.
We'll just have to wait until the Geneva motor show to see what NanoFlowcell has in store, but Nunzio La Vecchia is serious about the project. He said: "The Quantino is not just a concept vehicle - it will become reality in the course of this year. We will be driving the Quantino in 2015. And we aim to attain approval for road use very quickly." Let’s hope he’s right.