NanoFlowcell, a London-based company working on bringing a new and innovative type of electric powertrain to the market, has set up its American headquarters in New York City. It also introduced a concept car that demonstrates the technology it's been working on for years.
While it's not a household name, NanoFlowcell has appeared in these pages before: it regularly traveled to the Geneva auto show in the 2010s to unveil a series of futuristic concepts. It hasn't said much in the past couple of years, and there's no longer a Geneva auto show to unveil concept cars at, but work on the electrolyte fuel-powered electric drivetrain continued behind the scenes. Executives hope that its American division will develop market-specific applications for the technology, and they ultimately plan to produce cars and fuel here.
Producing fuel is crucial because NanoFlowcell's concept cars and prototypes aren't regular EVs — they're notably not fitted with a battery pack. They're instead powered by an electrolyte fuel called Bi-Ion that uses seawater or wastewater as a base. Regardless of where it comes from, the water gets purified and becomes a fuel thanks to nano-structured Bi-Ion molecules. They're described as "charge carriers developed to portably store regenerative energy." The electricity that this liquid generates is what zaps the electric motors into motion.
On paper, the results are impressive: the Quantino 25 concept (pictured above) is a 2+2 roadster powered by four electric motors each rated at 80 horsepower. The company quotes a 0-62-mph time of 2.5 seconds and a maximum driving range of over 1,200 miles. Fuel is stored in a pair of 33-gallon tanks installed under the floor, a configuration said to improve handling by lowering the center of gravity. Visually, the design study looks like an evolution of the Quantino unveiled in 2015, though it's now fitted with what looks like a removable roof panel.
NanoFlowcell stresses that its American division has already started looking for ways to roll out Bi-Ion fuel here, but there's no word yet on when (or even if) a Bi-Ion-powered EV will be available. The company adds that it has already tested its technology for over 300,000 miles.