Low-Volt Battery Alternative Proven Reliable In 217,000 Mile Test

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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Swiss brand nanoFlowcell revealed this week that its QUANTiNO 48VOLT sports car has traveled more than 217,000 miles (350,000 kilometers) on all-electric power without any major breakdowns or system failures.

This is significant because the QUANTiNO is powered by a flow-cell battery, which falls technologically somewhere between a hydrogen fuel-cell and a traditional battery electric vehicle (BEV).

Short of brutal oversimplification, the flow cell technology generates electricity that powers, in this case, the QUANTiNO sports car, by pumping electrolytes past stationary electrodes. The system is more complex than a BEV, since it requires tanks and pumps, but less so than an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Like a fuel-cell vehicle, range is limited by the tank size of the chemical electrolyte compound onboard. However a refill can be achieved a lot more quickly than a recharge on a BEV.

QUANTiNO 48VOLT’s powertrain works by pumping electrolytes past electrodes, which generates electricity. | Photo: nanoFlowcell

 

nanoFlowcell says its technology only costs $672 to build, which it compares to the thousands of dollars required to build a BEV battery pack. The Swiss brand doesn’t specify, however, what is provided for that price.

Irrespective of cost, flow cell technology does have some benefits over a BEV. Depending on the electrolyte compound chosen, the system can be a lot more environmentally friendly than a lithium-ion battery pack.

Efficiency is also a benefit. nanoFlowcell says its QUANTiNO sports car has a 621-mile range, which equates to 6.2 to 7.8 miles per kilowatt hour — or the equivalent of more than 200 to 250 miles per gallon. The road-legal sports car is also said to do 0-62 miles per hour in less than five seconds and on to a 124-mile-per-hour top speed.

Whether nanoFlowcell plans to actually build and sell its flow cell-powered vehicles to the public is unclear. The brand did say that it will offer further technological updates later this year.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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