Alternative to Li-ion batteries ready for series deployment?
With features like large driving range and short tank stops, Nanoflowcell attacks the existing electromobility paradigm at its weakest points: The company claims driving ranges of 1000 kilometres for vehicles equipped with its electrolyte-based liquid battery – twice as much as the currently most advanced battery-operated e-cars. And with a simple refill process at a kind of gas station that would not require significantly more time than filling the tank of a gasoline or diesel vehicle, the usability barrier of existing electromobility through lengthy charging stops would be cleared away. The company recently announced that its Quantino vehicle has been driven for 14 hours without a refill, and all of this under realistic driving conditions. But while Nanoflowcell hitherto aimed at series production of its cars, albeit in low quantities, the company now apparently has changed its strategy and is offering its energy storage technology to carmakers.
“Our goal is not manufacturing these vehicles in series production”, a spokesperson explained eeNews Europe. “They are ready to enter production, but we intend to market the flow cell technology instead”, he said, adding that the company has something like a franchise model in mind. “The system could be integrated into any electric car”, the spokesperson said. With its properties, the Nanoflowcell system would beat conventional lithium-ion batteries, the spokesperson claimed: “Since it is based on liquids, it can easily be customised to any type of vehicle, be it a city car or a large sedan,” he said. “We are the alternative to lithium-ion.”
Under technological aspects, the Nanoflowcell system however is somewhat mysterious. The company only discloses that the energy is stored in a non-toxic, incombustible and environmentally harmless liquid. The vehicles are equipped with two tanks – one for the unused liquid, the other one for the used liquid where it is pumped to after it has delivered its energy to the electric drive. In gas stations, the used liquid has to be drained while at the same time the empty tank can be refilled with the unused electrolyte. The problem is that the company does not disclose the exact composition of its “power liquid” – for fear of industry espionage, as the spokesperson said. However, media reports raised doubts if such a liquid can potentially exist, given the miraculous performance Nanoflowcell is promising: The vehicles can accelerate to 100 kmph (60 mph) in less than three seconds, reach top speeds of 200+ kmph and have a driving range of 1000 km – “and this is a rather cautious estimate”, the Nanoflowcell spokesperson said.
Since the energy is stored in liquid form the existing gasoline station infrastructure could be used to utilised for distribution, making complex and costly charging infrastructures unnecessary.
Remains the issue that hitherto no independent testers have been able to verify the promised performance. “We simply have not enough vehicles”, the spokesperson said. “The few units are needed for the homologation process and for internal tests and optimisations. Being a small company, our resources are limited.” He added that “in a few months we will enable independent tests.”