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Liechtenstein-Based Carmaker Quant Brings Two Long-Range EVs to Geneva

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/4/2015 Frank Markus
Liechtenstein-Based Carmaker Quant Brings Two Long-Range EVs to Geneva

At last year’s Geneva show, an upstart company from Vaduz in the pocket principality of Liechtenstein made headlines by introducing a gigantic 5,100-lb electric “limousine” that could supposedly accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds and travel 360 miles on a “charge.” Best of all, it could recharge as quickly as refueling a gas car. Backing up these stats was a new (to the car world, anyway) redox-flow battery technology in which positively and negatively charged ionic fluids are carried onboard and pumped past a proton-exchange membrane to generate electricity. You can plug in and pump the fluids back past the membrane to slowly recharge, or you can simply replace the depleted juice with recharged stuff. I investigated the technology in my July 2014 Techologue column, and learned that the technical stumbling block was developing ionic fluids with high enough energy density. The Quant E-Sportlimousine was fitted with two 50-gallon tanks for 360 miles of range. The company has never revealed the chemical makeup of its fluids.

Research

Quant reportedly achieved TŰV approval and commenced road testing last summer. This year, despite having announced no plans to produce the E, the company unveiled a follow-up model, the F-Sportlimousine. A further development of the E, the F reportedly produces 1,019 hp from its 735-volt electric powertrain, and routes the torque through a new two-speed transmission. The car apparently meets all crash and safety standards, and the company is “aiming” to produce it.

But the even bigger news was that of a third smaller, more practical and presumably affordable EV, the Quantino. This tidier two-door hatch model is just 153.9 inches long, and boasts four 34-hp electric motors powered by another nanoFlowcell battery that is fed by two 46-gallon tanks of ionic liquid which provide a claimed 600 miles of range. The kicker here is the Quantino’s low-voltage electrical architecture, which is said to run at just 48 volts. Most modern EVs operate at triple-digit voltages to keep current levels reasonable when delivering high power.

Quant’s chief technical officer Nunzio La Vecchia claims that his nanoFlowcell battery design is optimized for delivering very high current levels and hence, the low voltage works well. The concept is hard for this engineer to wrap his mind around, and I picture giant orange cables delivering the power to these motors, but perhaps the Liechtensteinians are onto something. They claim that the fetchingly designed Quantino prototype will be on the road in 2015.

Most industry pros we chatted with in Geneva were rather floored at the pricey, high-quality two-story booth this tiny newcomer company ponied up for at the show, after having had “cars on carpet” last year. This, plus the mere fact of having developed three concept cars in such a short time, does make one wonder where the money is coming from, and how deep the pockets are. We have no further information on that front, but at the tail end of the press conference, it was announced that there will be an IPO coming soon. I guess we’ll learn a lot more about the company’s finances when that paperwork gets filed.

Quant Quantino© Provided by MotorTrend Quant Quantino
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