Saltwater Car set for European Roads

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Of all the alternative fuel technologies, saltwater has to be the most exciting. After all, it's one of the most plentiful resources on the planet.

The car in question is the Quant e-Sportlimousine, which is, in essence, an all electric vehicle. The power train begins with two 200-litre fuel tanks, which are filled with a saltwater electrolyte solution. This is then pumped through a fuel cell membrane, where the anode and cathode and situated, creating the charge that drives four electric motors.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the Quant can accelerate from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds, and boasts a jaw-dropping top speed of 217mph. This means that there are none of the usual performance concerns that so often put buyers off electric vehicles. What's more, it can travel around 373 miles on a full tank of fuel.

Another benefit is that its saltwater/electrolyte power system can hold five times the charge of similarly-sized lithium-ion batteries, and doesn't lose power capacity over time, unlike most conventional batteries. It also contains none of the heavy metals and toxic substances that make batteries so harmful to the environment when they're finally disposed of.

There are also advantages from a safety standpoint. Saltwater is obviously far less volatile than hydrogen-based systems, which operate in a similar way, meaning that road safety and car insurance concerns are less likely to become a serious obstacle to the mainstream uptake of the technology.

Of course, as the name 'e-Sportlimousine' implies, the current incarnation of the tech is somewhat high-end. At 5.2 metres long and boasting showy gullwing doors, wooden interior features and leather seats, it goes a long way toward justifying its expected £1 million price tag.

Professor Jens-Peter Ellermann, chairman of nanoFLOWCELL AG, the company behind the Quant, commented that:

"We've got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry. The potential of the nanoFLOWCELL is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology."

So we may even see the batteries indoors, as well as out.


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