When the Formula E competition was created, the rules set in place were centered around keeping costs low by standardizing many of the participating cars’ aspects.
From transmission to tires and battery control systems, all teams were forced to use the same parts. While the core concept worked wonderfully, the rapid growth of the auto racing series made convinced its officials to alter the rules in order to allow for more flexibility.
As a result of Formula E’s decision to relax its rules in order to allow participants to innovate, Swiss company NanoFlowcell has started negotiations with the competition’s organizers, hoping to participate using their patented 48-volt flow battery.
The Swiss company plans participate using a smaller version of the powertrain found in its QUANT. The original system is comprised of a 760 horsepower motor powered by a 300kWh six membrane flow cell.
In terms of speed, it can reach a maximum of 186 mph, with a range of 600 miles. While the QUANT motor can take the vehicle from 0 to 100 kph in 2.4 seconds, the variant that will be seen in Formula E will have reduced capabilities. It will only have an output of 250 kW, and a battery capacity of 54 kWh.
Unlike lithium-ion batteries, the technology developed by nanoFlowcell is more environmentally friendly. Flow cell batteries use a non-toxic, non-flammable liquid electrolyte that La Vecchia, its developer claims can be manufactured for less than 10 cents per liter. Furthermore, the electrolyte could be distributed using the already existing fuel distribution infrastructure.
La Vecchia argued that it takes too long to recharge the batteries of an electric car, only to have it run for a very limited distance.
The possibility of seeing NanoFlowcell participate in Formula E is an interesting prospect. Especially when considering that it will allow the company to introduce its fuel cell technology to the public, and contest the position held by lithium-ion batteries as electric car power sources.