Why QUANT e-Sportlimousine’s Technology Would Be Better Suited For Long-Range EV Trucks

MAR 8 2014 BY MARK KANE 5

QUANT e-Sportlimosine

QUANT e-Sportlimosine

The Swiss QUANT e-Sportlimousine from nanoFLOWCELL is as stunning research concept car, which recently debuted at Geneva Motor Show.

Its main innovation is use of flow battery, which enables it to drive for 600 km.

The 120 kWh battery has an energy density of up to 600 Wh/kg according to nanoFLOWCELL.

Looking at the data published by nanoFLOWCELL, we could ask an open question about the use of this type of battery in a long range truck. Why not in a truck?

Current li-ion technology still has too low energy density, which excludes the viability of long-range electric truck.

We know that Siemens is doing some research to try out an eHighway with a special infrastructure above main roads (but a world wrapped in wires doesn’t appeal to us).

Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience WAVE

Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience WAVE

Siemens eHighway Test Track in Germany                          (Siemens/LA Times)

Siemens eHighway Test Track in Germany (Siemens/LA Times)

There is huge problem to do long range trucks (500-1000 miles) because the battery pack must be very big, heavy, expensive and when you reach the end of the route, you need to recharge 500 kWh, 1,000 or 2,000 kWh in a short period of time from extremely high power chargers.

But what if we used flow batteries in trucks? The range would be okay (at least with two tanks with 1,000 liters of electrolytes and hundreds of kWh of energy) and you don’t need to recharge it electrically – just swap both electrolytes for fresh ones at the refueling station.  Is this idea reasonable?

Why not start from cars? Well… QUANT e-Sportlimousine does not necessarily offer performances better than a Tesla Model S. Of course, the acceleration is quicker with the QUANT, but Tesla could just increase the size of the battery pack, use supercapacitors and add a front drivetrain to match the quickness of QUANT. Range is similar and we basically don’t need 600 km at once all too often, especially when we have Superchargers every 200-300 km.

There is also a standardization problem with electrolytes – probably higher for dozens of cars manufacturers than for trucks manufacturers in a few large scale projects.

The big unknown that remains is total cost of flow battery/system.

But to us, this technology make sense for big rigs, not passenger vehicles.

What do you think?

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5 Comments on "Why QUANT e-Sportlimousine’s Technology Would Be Better Suited For Long-Range EV Trucks"

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It may make more sense for trucks, but I also like the idea of people choosing whatever kind of recharging infrastructure they are more comfortable with.

One of the keys that make EVs so good for households is that the majority of the population has a regular daily cycle of sleeping and working, with charging infrastructure already there for 90% of their needs. They also do a lot of city mileage, where regen is a huge opportunity for efficiency improvement.

Big rigs generally operate on a much more irregular pattern, don’t return to the same place every night, need minimal downtime, and do a lot of freeway mileage. IMO, they are a good opportunity for natural gas, not electrification or even hybridization.

Better targets, given the points in the article, are buses and delivery trucks. But even there, flow batteries don’t have a lot of advantages over regular ones, and will be squeezed into a niche.

Big Rigs are required by law to stop every eight to ten hours on the road and rest for eight hours. usually they do this at a truck stop. So it could be possible to have truck with a double high voltage charger to fill itself up during the eight hour rest period at the truck stop.

totaly agree.

It certainly is interesting and even more so for a 737 EV. You place the electrolyte in the wings instead of the kerosine and you replace the turbofan with an electrofan. The planes have dedicated routes and tanks can be installed and maintained at airports easily since there is already professional staff arround for maintnance between flights anyway.