2015 NanoFlowcell QUANTiNO
The last time TopSpeed featured a car from nanoFlowcell, it was big on promises and short on details. It was called the Quant E-Sportlimousine, and it supposedly created an atmospheric 911 horsepower and downright ludicrous 8,552 pound-feet of torque.
How are such figures even suggestible? The maker said it was due to the car’s three electric motors juiced by a nanoFlowcell powerplant, which uses two types of liquid electrolytes to generate an electrical current. Not only was this EV absurdly powerful, but the novel drivetrain also offered a range of up to 372 miles.
The car remained a concept, but the technology used to power it continued in development. Now, nanoFlowcell is presenting the latest iteration of its electric generator in the QUANTiNO, slated to make a world debut at the Geneva International Motor Show. What’s more, this car is supposedly on its way to full-scale production.
"The QUANTiNO is an electric vehicle for everyone. Affordable and featuring an extravagant, unique design. It is not just a concept vehicle - it will become reality in the course of this year,” says Nunzio La Vecchia, Chief Technical Officer at nanoFlowcell AG, in a press release.
Click Continue Reading to see just how ambitious that statement truly is.
2015 NanoFlowcell QUANTiNO
Horsepower @ RPM:136
0-60 time:8 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:124 mph
According to NanoFlowcell, the QUANTiNO was designed with the intention of being an “innovative electric vehicle with mass appeal.” It’s the smallest vehicle in its lineup, behind the QUANT E and QUANT F concepts, the latter of which will also debut at Geneva this year. Design-wise, nanoFlowcell took cues from the E and F for the front and rear end, emphasizing continuity with its stable mates.
The QUANTiNO is a bit under 154 inches in length, and sports enormous 22-inch wheels that simply pop from its fender aches. It’s an aesthetic that’s sure to please fans of angular, futuristic coupes with gigantic rollers. While not necessarily “pretty,” the QUANTiNO is definitely striking. Whether or not the production version will retain this remarkable visual appeal remains to be seen.
Note: vehicle pictured is not QUANTiNO.
Details on the interior of the QUANTiNO are non-existent beyond a mention of a 2+2-seating arrangement. However, from a look at the innards of Quant E-Sportlimousine, we can make a few speculations.
First, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an elegant dash that runs a course from front to back in one continuous design. The instrumentation will likely consist of multiple screens as opposed to the traditional analog gauges, and materials will likely be quirky and non-standard, like copper and wood grain (that is to say, not the same plastic found on a Camry).
The seats will probably be bolstered to underline the QUANTiNO’s sporty image, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel with good ergonomics. Gadgets will reign supreme, with high levels of connectivity and the latest equipment specifications, such as Bluetooth, a USB interface, and app integration.
While fun to look at probably interesting to sit in, the most important feature by far is what makes this thing go. The QUANTiNO uses a low-voltage nanoFlowcell to create electricity and drive four 25kW electric motors, which corresponds to roughly 136 horsepower. Top speed is 124 mph, and 620 miles of emission-free range is possible before a “refuel” is required.
So if it doesn’t run on gasoline or draw electricity from the main grid, how does the nanoFlowcell work? The company isn’t overly comprehensive with its description, but did outline the use of two 46-gallon tanks filled with ionic fluid, with one tank positively charged and the other negatively charged. The two liquids would then sit on either side of a membrane, through which the electricity would then be created. The refueling process would be similar to that of an internal combustion engine car, but would need two different fluids instead of one.
The whole shebang only produces 48 volts, which is a figure not normally associated with electric cars: “Very high currents are required for the levels of drive output typically needed by vehicles. This necessitates exceptionally large cable cross-sections and increased transmission losses with high-voltage systems,” explains Chief Technical Officer Nunzio La Vecchia in a press release. “With the nanoFlowcell, we have been able to solve this problem. Here we generate very high currents at a very low rated voltage which are perfect for the purposes of the low-voltage system.”
The company cites numerous advantages with a low-voltage system. These include no need for “flashover protection,” with no additional measures required to prevent “accidental contact.” This purportedly makes the cars both safer and easier to homologize.
"Low-voltage systems are an ideal match for the nanoFlowcell,” says La Vecchia. “They enable us to generate levels of drive power that previously appeared impossible. And we are only at the beginning of our development work. The initial tests and simulations already indicate far greater potential. This concept represents a real alternative for the electric mobility of the future, with outstanding drive power and vast ranges”
|Type||four 25kW electric motors|
|Top speed||124 MPH|
|Driving range||1,000 KM (620 miles)|
While nanoFlowcell claims the QUANTiNO will be an “affordable” EV for “everyone,” what that actually means is vague, at best. The most popular EV out there is the Nissan Leaf, which starts at $29,010, so nanoFlowcell will need to shoot for the $30K mark if it intends to bring this thing to the masses. But given the groundbreaking drivetrain, I’d expect final price to be closer to the $50,000-$60,000 range.
As the most successful highway-capable all-electric car in history, the Leaf is often championed as the way forward for the everyday EV. Originally unveiled in 2010, Nissan has moved 155,000 units as of December of last year, and that number appears to be growing even faster.
With a low-drag exterior featuring LED lighting and a few zero-emission badges, the Leaf is powered by 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an 80kW AC synchronous motor that produces 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. Range is 75 miles per charge, while only 30 minutes are required to attain 80 percent battery capacity at public quick-charge stations.
Inside, the features are nice and techy, with a 4.3-inch color LCD display, heated front bucket seats, a three-spoke heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic temperature control, and standard Bluetooth hands-free system.
For less than $30,000, this car obviously makes a lot of sense to a lot of people. If nanoFlowcell hopes to make a dent in the world of affordable EVs, the Leaf would be its primary challenger.
As the main defender of hydrogen fuel cell technology, the Mirai is currently at the forefront of alternative drivetrains. In fact, demand has been so high, the Japanese automaker has had to triple production just to keep up.
While not particularly pleasing to the eye, the main act is hidden under the lackluster bodywork in the form of a fuel cell stack that uses outside oxygen and compressed H2 to power an electric motor for 153 horsepower, with 0-to-60 times of around nine seconds. As for emissions, expect nothing more than heat and water vapor.
Inside, there’s a futuristic dash littered with switches and dials, featuring a prominent digital readout and color screen for HVAC and infotainment duties. Pre-collision braking, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and automatic high beams round out the features.
After state and federal incentives, total cost is priced at $45,000, which is a lot for something like the Mirai, even with its revolutionary drivetrain. However, Toyota is sweetening the deal with free maintenance, roadside assistance, an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, and three years of complimentary H2 fuel fill-ups.
While fascinating, the QUANTiNO leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The cost is a big one, but more pressing is everything that surrounds that innovative new drivetrain. It sounds too good to be true, much like the 8,552 pound-foot torque figure of the E-Sportlimousine.
But should an electrolyte-based powertrain as nanoFlowcell describes actually make it to large-scale production, where will customers refuel? How expensive will the fuel be? Will the vehicle perform like a normal car?
Hopefully, answers will be forthcoming, as the company hopes to put the QUANTiNO on the road this year. Check back here for further updates.