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Global tech firm eyes US for location to produce superefficient EV battery — but it's drawing skepticism

"This requires a well-thought-out strategy and the development of the appropriate infrastructure."

"This requires a well-thought-out strategy and the development of the appropriate infrastructure."

Photo Credit: iStock

European tech firm nanoFlowcell has announced plans to set up shop in the United States and create an electric vehicle with a new type of superefficient battery — but whether it can actually deliver on that promise is another question entirely.

The key piece of technology that nanoFlowcell relies on is called a "flow battery," which works by generating electricity from two specialized fluids flowing alongside each other and separated by a thin membrane. In theory, this type of battery could provide longer ranges, shorter refueling times, and less danger of combustion. 

Challenges include the fact that current iterations of flow batteries are way too large because of their low energy density.

"We need to make energy from renewable energy safe, storable and transportable to drive environmentally sustainable economic growth. This requires a well-thought-out strategy and the development of the appropriate infrastructure," said Nunzio La Vecchia, nanoFlowcell's co-founder and CEO, per CleanTechnica.

Unfortunately, while flow battery technology is a real thing that scientists are hard at work on, there is doubt around La Vecchia's ability to deliver such a product. La Vecchia has been accused in the past of selling clean tech vaporware, or products that are announced to generate investments but never materialize.

In 2009, La Vecchia, who is also apparently a singer and music producer, was accused in Swiss court of faking solar car technology in order to garner investments. The court dismissed the case, saying that the investors should have done more research.

"If you had asked me, I would have warned every investor against investing in La Vecchia," Peter Toggweiler, managing director of a Swiss solar company, told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. "I never saw his cell technology and he never wanted to show me a sample … The huge, modern office is just a show."

Commenters on the CleanTechnica article were similarly skeptical.

"The nanoFlowcell website has snazzy graphics and very little information," one wrote.

"I've looked into other articles on this car and company, and frankly it sounds like a total and utter scam," another wrote. "The car's performance is world-shattering: 0-62mph in 2.4 seconds, 186 mph top speed, and 620 mile range. Four motors put out a combined 751 hp. Uh-huh."

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