QuantumScape battery tech: A fast-charging electric-car game-changer?

Volkswagen-backed startup QuantumScape on Tuesday revealed new data showing the capabilities of its solid-state battery tech.

Several companies are working to develop solid-state batteries, which use a solid electrolyte instead of the liquid or gel used in current lithium-ion battery cells. But QuantumScape claims to be ahead of competitors in developing solid-state cells that can handle the rigors of automotive use.

In testing, large-area, single-layer, pouch cells were able to charge to 80% capacity in 15 minutes, the company said. They also showed a retained capacity greater than 80% after 800 charging cycles—a lifespan unmatched by competitors, the company claims.

Cells have also been tested to -30 degrees Celsius, a temperature too low for other solid-state chemistries to operate, the company said.

With these lifespan and temperature barriers broken, QuantumScape executives now believe solid-state batteries can replace lithium-ion batteries in electric cars.

Volkswagen ID Space Vizzion concept

Volkswagen ID Space Vizzion concept

“Lithium-ion provided an important stepping stone to power the first generation of EVs,” QuantumScape CEO Jagdeep Singh said in a statement. “We believe QuantumScape’s lithium-metal solid-state battery technology opens the automotive industry up to the next generation battery and creates a foundation for the transition to a more fully electrified automotive fleet.”

Among the claimed advantages of solid-state batteries are energy density—QuantumScape said its batteries will offer 80% greater range than comparable lithium-ion batteries—and a very wide range at which peak fast-charging power is allowed, which could reduce charging times.

VW has been a longtime investor in QuantumScape, with a business relationship going back to 2012. The automaker announced an additional investment of $200 million earlier this year.

QuantumScape, which counts former Tesla CTO and battery mastermind JB Straubel as a member of its board, announced plans to go public in September.

The startup’s technology could be an important indicator on why VW has continued to claim it will use solid-state batteries in a limited form by 2025 while some other automakers claim it is many more years away.

Source link