What will the car of the future be powered by? Petrol, diesel, hydrogen or battery? Or sea water, perhaps…
Before you scoff, consider the evidence: this stunning four-seat supercar is as fast as a McLaren P1, has zero emissions and is powered by – you guessed it – sea water. It’s called the Quant e-Sportlimousine and it has just been passed as road legal for use in Europe. The e-Sportlimousine is an electric car, but it doesn’t derive its power from conventional batteries. Instead, it uses what’s known as ‘nano flowcell technology’.
Quant describes the process thus: “Liquid electrolytes circulate through two separate cells in which a ‘cold burning’ takes place, during which oxidation and reduction processes happen in parallel and thereby produce electrical power for the drive train.”
Originally developed for NASA, the system works in a similar way to a hydrogen fuel cell, except the liquid used for storing energy is salt water. The e-Sportlimousine carries its fuel – water – in two big 200-litre tanks. That’s right – all that performance and efficiency comes from an abundant liquid that covers 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface. Has Quant solved the electric car problem, then? It really isn’t a far-fetched concept, the e-Sportlimousine. As we mentioned, it’s just been certified for road use in Europe, meaning that the technology test bed must work. Whether or not Quant can manufacture it on a production basis remains to be seen. But the flowcell system certainly has the potential to change the face of motoring.
Quant says that the car will be as quick as any supercar, with four electric motors each driving a wheel individually for a total output of 925hp. Yes, that’s 9hp more than the McLaren P1 hybrid ‘hypercar’. Of course, don’t expect the range of the e-Sportlimousine to be that great when it’s kicking out all 925 ponies. Quant quotes an ‘operating power’ of 653hp, which is still really quite incredible.
The beauty of an electric motor is its power and torque are available instantly – and it’s the latter that provides the majority of performance here. Each electric motor delivers 1,844lb ft of torque, meaning a total of 7,376lb ft. That’s why this thing can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 2.8 seconds (helped by four-wheel drive) and smash past 308km/h (236mph) according to Quant.
Alongside the incredible performance, this super-refined, near-silent four-seater emits no nasty emissions. That’s 0g/km CO2, which means free road tax and no congestion charge in the UK, and guilt-free motoring. Cheap to run, too. Despite the incredible performance on offer, the e-Sportlimousine boasts a really rather respectable range. Quant claims it will travel up to 373 miles on one fill-up.
Filling the e-Sportlimousine’s two salt water tanks means you won’t have to wait around for an age while any batteries charge, as you would with conventional electric cars. On the outside, the e-Sportlimousine looks suitably exotic, with bulges and vents in all the right places and a sleek profile that’s designed to reduce drag. Inside, the e-Sportlimousine lives up to the latter part of its name with a cabin that blends sporty styling with luxurious materials.
Curving wood panels dominate the cockpit and dashboard and create individual passenger ‘zones’, while a huge digital screen spans the width of the car, displaying speed and range information in front of the driver, while other data on the car, navigation, climate control and multimedia system is shown on the rest of the monitor.
If rocking up in a 230mph-plus electric car that looks like this isn’t theatre enough, you’ll wow guests arriving at your destination with the full-length gull-wing doors. The rear chairs of this four-seater are revealed by that vast door – it looks cool, but it’s actually practical, too. At 5 metres long, the e-Sportlimousine boasts plenty of space – and with near-silent electric motors providing propulsion it should be quiet, too.
Time for a little bit of background on the e-Sportlimousine: the concept was first shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Back in 2010, the firm developed an early concept with none other than the supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg, so there are plenty of creative and successful minds behind the project. As you’d expect, there are numerous exotic materials littered throughout the e-Sportlimousine, helping it achieve those incredible performance and efficiency numbers. The chassis is made from carbonfibre, while other lightweight metals are employed to keep the weight down. Although, at 2,300kg with full ‘fuel’ tanks, it’s still a bit of a bruiser.
– Motoring Research, Ed Soluk