#1 Fluid: Quant e-Superlimousine by nanoFLOWCELL AG
There are concepts that push the limits of automotive design. There are concepts that intrigue us with new methods of propulsion. There are concepts with information technology, connecting driver and vehicle, and those which include new sustainable materials, connecting driver with environment. Then there are those which are just plain crazy that when taken at face value, are nothing but a bit of visionary fun. Most of the time though, there’s a massive trade-off like, coming up a beautiful design, then not giving it a working engine or using some fantastic new material on a car that’s best left under covers.
Then there’s the Quant e-Superlimousine which has seemingly combined all of the best traits of a proper concept car; It’s gorgeous, it uses sustainable raw materials, it’s “connected” and most importantly, it creates its own electricity.
There’s a lot going on here, so let me start with the design. In a word: stunning. It looks like a properly futuristic supercar yet, from some angles, it has the same clean lines of a Maserati which evokes a certain timelessness. The front end is full of wonderment: swooping lines composing the front grille and air intakes, low nose and muscular wheel arches.
The wheels themselves, like shiny turbines, are magnificent. The Quant uses massive yet trendy gullwing doors which actually compliment the design quite nicely. There’s a rakish windshield leading up to a lovely Zagato-esque, double-bubble roof which slopes gently to the rear. Out back, it all comes together neatly with a flutter of styling cues from the McLaren P1. All in all, it has the proportions and look of a proper grand touring car.
Then there’s the interior which, by all accounts, is the greatest “connected” cockpit design I’ve ever seen. For starters, there’s a steering wheel which tells me that it’s meant to be driven, engaged. However, just behind the wheel there’s a 1.25 m “widescreen” hosting the infotainment system – built on the Android platform. There’s beautiful, grained wood throughout the cabin with integrated LED lighting strips, there to represent nothing more than fluidity. Along the centre console you’ll find “Sensorflow” icon controls which can be operated at the touch of a finger. There, the wood acts as an organic medium between the user and digital controls. I think the interior is just as striking as the Quant’s outward appearance. Again, it’s just proper a concept car.
Quant has made some pretty lofty claims about the e-Superlimousine’s performance. It claims a o-60 time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 236 mph. Look at the current crop of hybrid supercars from Ferrari, Prosche and McLaren (in each of those, energy recovery systems fuel batteries for an electric motor which, in turn, compliments a powerful petrol engine) and those figures don’t seem way off. Except the Quant isn’t a hybrid. Yes, it is powered electrically however, it doesn’t require plugging-in or kinetic energy (heat) recovery to work. Like combustion engines that require fuel to ignite, the Quant runs on its own type of fuel, on its own type of engine, the nanoFLOWCELL.
Admittedly, an alternative fuel source and powerplant I’ve never heard of before.
Ok here’s my attempt to explain how it works. What Quant explains as no more than “salt water” is actually two, highly charged electrolyte solutions stored in separate 200 liter tanks at the rear of the car. The nanoFLOWCELL then begins circulating the solutions inside of it, separating them by a thin membrane. The flow of the oppositely charged fluids creates electricity which is then sent to two super-capacitors for management and storage. From there, the energy is drawn by four, three-phase, wheel motors which combine to generate an impressive 912 hp. Despite its performance numbers, Quant claims an estimated range of 400-600 kilometers.
But what of the electrolyte/ salt water/ Gatorade solution? Well Quant hopes for a future where this fluid will available at your local fueling station. Quant states that the used liquid can be recharged and as such, perhaps fueling stations of the future will be able to transfuse the fluid: simultaneously siphoning the spent liquid while pumping in a new batch.
As the Quant is purely a prototype, you can close an eye on things like its weight, over 5,000 lbs, or price, or feasibility. However, word is that the car is nearly 100% homologated, i.e. street legal, except for the Nanoflowcell. Quant claims that it needs just another year for that to meet legal requirements. In the meantime, it spurs our imagination. It leaves us to ponder what could be. For its design, engineering and new powerplant, the Quant e-Superlimousine is the most innovative concept from this year’s Geneva Motor Show.