NanoFlowcell found a partner to make its salt-powered electric coupe a reality

Nanoflowcell Quantino
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
German startup NanoFlowcell raised more than a few eyebrows when it announced plans to build an advanced, zero-emissions car that essentially relies on salt to generate electricity. Many were skeptical, but the company has announced it’s talking with a partner about bringing the technology to production.

Company founder Nunzio La Vecchia told British magazine Autocar that he’s in talks with a “large manufacturer that’s not German” about turning NanoFlowcell’s largely experimental drivetrain into a reality. He declined to give more specific details, though his comments rule out the usual suspects like Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and components manufacturer Bosch.

La Vecchia hinted the potential partner is largely interested in technology, not in design, which means sleek, sci-fi-esque concepts like the Quantino (pictured) and the Quant F will remain at the prototype stage.

Using salt to create electricity is a decades-old idea that’s less complicated than it seems. NanoFlowcell’s Quantino is equipped with a 48-volt drivetrain that uses two types of ionized fluids — one with a positive charge, one with a negative charge — stored in separate tanks to generate electricity. NanoFlowcell carefully points out that ionic fluid is essentially salt in a liquid state, and that it’s neither toxic nor flammable.

The electricity generated by pumping these fluids through cells is sent to all four wheels via four electric motors that each produce just over 27 horsepower; as a result, the Quantino’s total output is 109 horsepower. It all sounds too good to be true, but NanoFlowcell is currently testing two prototypes that are registered and fully street-legal in Germany. The ambitious startup isn’t yet another vaporware company, though only will time tell if ionized fluid is the fuel of the future.

We’ll find out more about NanoFlowcell’s plans to mass-produce the technology if it strikes a deal with its mysterious partner. If all goes according to plan, La Vecchia believes that a salt-powered car — and the network of stations needed to refuel it — can become a reality in just four or five years’ time.

Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Cars

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.