Viewpoint 27 days ago

The Ultimate Endurance Test

100,000 Kilometres in the QUANTiNO 48VOLT - 100% Electric, Flow Cell Power Without Compromise

On 4 August there was a click!, and the clock in the QUANTiNO 48VOLT moved round to show 100,000 kilometres - totally unspectacularly in Zürich city traffic. It marks a milestone in the ultimate endurance test of the newly developed nanoFlowcell 48VOLT electric drive system based on flow cell technology. At the same time, it is also a validation of modern electric mobility that is not only arriving silently, but also with the commitment to inherent sustainability, environmental compatibility and practicality.

As the most modern regenerative energy technology in the electric mobility sector, the nanoFlowcell® and its complementary electrolyte bi-ION have spent the last two years proving its consistent performance, reliability and ease of maintenance. And it has been doing so not on test beds in evenly temperature and dry factory facilities, but in road traffic - in the city as well as out of town and on motorways.

The QUANTiNO 48VOLT is being tested under wind and weather - setting the engineers something of a challenge along the way. You see, the vehicle is a prototype that doesn't possess the same level of comfort as a production car. Nevertheless, the team of development engineers under company boss Nunzio La Vecchia are not particularly interested in the QUANTiNO's comfort attributes. Their focus is on the low-voltage electricity unit - the nanoFlowcell®. The trip data from the kilometres covered in the QUANTiNO 48VOLT are meticulously measured and the tiniest deviations between desired and actual results analysed in detail.

After the engineers at nanoFlowcell Holdings succeeded at the end of last year in achieving variable control of the energy supply from the flow cell, they were able to dispense with the heavy and costly supercapacitors (supercaps) that previously served as buffer storage for the drive energy. (>) The question that then arose, however, was: How reliable is the flow cell's energy supply without buffers?

In December 2016, the new nanoFlowcell 48VOLT system was first installed in the QUANTiNO 48VOLT. In this slimline configuration, the nanoFlowcell® 48VOLT system is no longer just the environmentally friendliest drive system for electric vehicles, but is now also the most compact, powerful and cost-effective electric drive system currently offered within the automotive industry (see more on the benefits of the nanoFlowcell 48VOLT low-voltage drive in a competitive comparison compiled by market research institute IDTechEX in its report "Power Electronics for Electric Vehicles 2017-2027"). (>)

"We were expecting that the nanoFlowcell® would reach the 100,000-kilometre mark without going into maintenance mode. But when this really happened, we were excited about the resilience of the nanoFlowcell®," says Nunzio La Vecchia, CEO of nanoFlowcell Holdings. "Current test analyses confirm our confidence and it is with complete assurance that we are giving a guarantee of 50,000 operating hours on the nanoFlowcell® hardware. That equates to a theoretical running distance of 2.5 million kilometres."

"The vehicle did, of course, encounter technical problems during the endurance test, but these were mainly associated with the vehicle electronics - mostly the VCU - and not with the flow cell itself," stresses La Vecchia. "We had to re-programme the VCU for direct control of the flow cell. This was new terrain for us, and we were unable to refer to existing industry expertise. This kind of knowledge is highly specific to automobiles and not necessarily our core competence. We had to garner our own experience and, as a research and development company, have ultimately been able to expand considerably our competence in the field of electric vehicle applications."

Right now, the nanoFlowcell 48VOLT flow cell system in the QUANTiNO incorporates three membranes along which the bi-ION electric liquid can be guided in order to react with one another (comparison: before the flow cell was variably controllable, it was only possible to use a single membrane). The continuous output of the installed flow cell system stands at 80 to 90 kW. Via a DC/DC transformer, the flow cell supplies a constant flow of energy directly to the 80 kW electric motor. This is enough power to accelerate the QUANTiNO 48VOLT from zero to 100 km/h in around five seconds, and sufficiently sustained to be able to maintain a top speed of 200 km/h.

Last December, the QUANTiNO 48VOLT demonstrated what is possible with nanoFlowcell® energy. The electric sports car took just 8:21 hours to cover a distance of 1,000 kilometres, not only maintaining a remarkable traveling speed, but also covering a total distance of 1,401 kilometres with 2x95 litres of electrolyte liquid in its tanks. These are benchmarks unattainable by any other electric vehicle. (>)

"The QUANTiNO is the world's only road-legal electric vehicle with a 48-volt low-voltage drive system, and thus the electric vehicle with the greatest possible functional safety. Its nanoFlowcell® drive also makes it the most attractive electric vehicle in environmental terms and currently the most efficient EV concept from an economic standpoint," explains La Vecchia, adding: "However, at nanoFlowcell Holdings, we don't want to become a vehicle manufacturer, but instead to offer the technology in our prototypes to interested manufacturers as a technology licence, as well as our expertise as a development partner. We also don't want to restrict ourselves too heavily to the automotive sector as the scalability of the membrane and the nanoFlowcell® system means the technology can be used in a wide variety of applications - such as shipping, rail and air traffic and domestic electricity networks - as a regenerative energy carrier within an ecologically sustainable energy transition."

nanoFlowcell Holdings is currently in discussions with manufacturers from a variety of industry sectors to deliberate the substitution of existing lithium-ion battery systems with nanoFlowcell® energy. The nanoFlowcell® is a forward-thinking alternative energy source for modern electric vehicles. It addresses the criticism levelled at conventional battery technologies through an uncompromising foundation of inherent safety, sustainability, environmental compatibility, practicality and cost efficiency.

While nanoFlowcell Holdings is the only research institute in Europe specialising in the research and development of modern flow cells, it is primarily the USA that is striving long-term to achieve a pioneering role in flow cell battery technology. (>)

Technical Data QUANTiNO 48VOLT (2017)

· Top speed (km/h): 200

· Acceleration (0-100 km/h): <5s

· Gearbox: Automatic

· Drive: Rear-wheel drive

· Number of doors: 2

· Number of seats: 2+2

Motor

· Type: Three-phase asynchronous motor

· Maximum power (kW / hp): 80 / 108

· Maximum torque (Nm): 200

Flow Battery

· Type: nanoFlowcell®

· Voltage (V): 48

· Rated current (A): max. 300

· Capacity (kWh): 85

Consumption

· Fuel: Electricity

· Energy consumption: 10-12 kWh / 100 km

· Tank volume (l): 2 x 95

· Range (km): >1,000

· Harmful emissions (g): 0

Dimensions

· Length (mm): 3,910

· Width (mm): 1,930

· Height (mm): 1,335

· Wheelbase (mm): 3,198

· Dry weight (kg): 685

Wheels and tyres

· 215/45 R20 95V XL

· friction optimised

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