The Quant e-Sportlimousine: fact or fiction?

I would like to believe that the new Quant e-Sportlimousine is indeed, FACT. Flow battery technology isn’t new. It’s just very complex, expensive and faces energy density challenges in a small automotive form factor. But I’m not Nunzio La Vecchia, the Swiss rock-star engineer with a YouTube channel – the very visible face of nanoFlowcell AG and its Quant wondercar. If Nunzio delivers as promised, history is made.

Tesla seems to be all over this in a back-channel way, pointing us toward FICTION – but they probably aren’t too concerned. According to news sources, when (if) you’ll be able to purchase a Quant, it will likely be in the $1mm+ range. However, now that flow cell technology seems to be drawing attention in the news, with companies like Primus Power producing big commercial models, perhaps that development curve will accelerate.

The first Tesla, which had a price tag above the $100k mark, paved the way for the Model S starting at $71,070 and now the upcoming Model 3 targeted at $35,000. Of course, Nunzio and his team face much larger hurdles, because they are attempting to revolutionize battery technology. Flow cells hold amazing promise. Swapping out the depleted electrolyte instantly “recharges” the battery. But the infrastructure doesn’t exist. It reminds me a bit of the great Hydrogen-Powered Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Revolution that failed to materialize in the early 2000’s for a variety of reasons, one of which was the storage and distribution of hydrogen.

But salt water isn’t hydrogen. The Quant “runs” on salt water, which is entirely stable, plentiful and cheap. Electrolyte refueling stations won’t have the potential to explode like their hydrogen counterparts (had they materialized), and although salt water is corrosive, we’ve pretty much mastered its handling and storage. Compared to fast-charging scenarios, swapping out and recycling electrolyte seems more practical. Instead of tapping into an electrical grid with a carbon footprint of its own, a flow cell generates electricity entirely without carbon emissions. I’m not a physicist, and my take on this may be naïve and possibly wrong, but it sure sounds like energy nirvana.

It’s a FACT that research and development on flow battery technology won’t stop. As costs decrease, I’m looking forward to taking a test drive in a Quant-like vehicle I can actually afford.

nanoFlowcell AG website

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