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Formula E may permit a team from nanoFlowcell in season five. The Swiss company uses a non-toxic liquid electrolyte instead of lithium-ion battery cells.


Formula E May Approve An Entry From nanoFlowcell In Season Five

Formula E may permit a team from nanoFlowcell in season five. The Swiss company uses a non-toxic liquid electrolyte instead of lithium-ion battery cells.

This story about Formula E was first published on Gas2.

When Formula E began, the concept was to keep costs low by strictly regulating every aspect of the race cars. Same chassis, same transmission, same motor, same battery control system, same brakes, and same tires. The idea worked brilliantly. Formula E is the fastest growing auto racing series in the world, with a waiting list of world cities anxious to get on the calendar.

But Formula E is slowly relaxing the rules to permit the teams to innovate, and what could be more innovative than using a flow battery when everyone else is using a lithium-ion battery pack? That’s what Swiss company nanoFlowcell wants to do. It is in negotiations with Formula E and the FIA that would allow it to field a team powered by its proprietary 48 volt flow battery.

NanoFlowcell would use a scaled down version of the powertrain that’s in its QUANT. That system uses a 760 horsepower motor that draws from a 6 membrane flow cell with a capacity of 300 kWh. It can scoot to 100 km/h in 2.4 seconds and has a top speed of 300 km/h. Claimed range is more than 965 kilometers. For the 2018/2019 season, Formula E will limit battery capacity to 54 kWh and motor output to 250 kW.

“We have almost perfected the nanoFlowcell 48 volt electric drive and are confident that our flow-cell system is superior to the lithium-ion battery technology currently used in electric vehicles, and is capable of leading the premium motorsport class for electric sports cars,” says Nunzio La Vecchia, developer of the nanoFlowcell. “Racing success in Formula E — just like our success in flow cell research — is hard fought, but we’re showing that we’re not shying away from the competition.”

The flow cell battery uses a non-toxic, non-flammable, liquid electrolyte called Bi-ION that is environmentally friendly. La Vecchia claims it can be made for less than 10 cents per liter and distributed using existing fuel distribution infrastructure. Refueling times are comparable to filling a tank with gasoline.

Electric cars “take too long to charge, have too little range, and there are too few charging stations,” La Vecchia says. “The refueling infrastructure for [electrolytes] is considerably easier, faster and more cost effective to build. It adds up to just a fraction of the infrastructure costs of current electric mobility scenarios.”

Participating in Formula E would be the perfect way for nanoFlowcell to get its innovative technology before the public and maybe put a dent in the dominance of the lithium-ion battery as the power source of choice of electric cars.

Source: Electric Cars Report

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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