Solid-state batteries promise to deliver much greater range, shorter charge times, lower costs, and improved safety for electric vehicles, though there remains hurdles to getting the technology ready for the rough requirements of automotive use.
One of those hurdles has been durability, but Volkswagen Group in its latest testing of a solid-state battery cell supplied by U.S. startup QuantumScape, which counts the automaker as a major shareholder, looks to have overcome this challenge.
VW Group, via its in-house battery company PowerCo, has successfully completed more than 1,000 charging cycles of the QuantumScape battery cell, which the automaker said corresponds to a total mileage of more than 310,000 miles for a typical EV, or much more than the average life of a vehicle, regardless of its powertrain type.
According to VW Group, the cell barely aged and still had 95% of its capacity (or discharge energy retention) at the end of the test, or well above the typical industry requirement of 80%. The test, which ran for several months, took place at PowerCo’s battery lab in Salzgitter, Germany.
VW Salzgitter cell facility
VW Group said the cell also met other requirements for fast-charging capability, discharging, safety, and more.
The automaker said the next step on the road to production will be to develop the manufacturing process for churning out the cell at scale, something that is another challenge for development of solid-state
VW Group has previously hinted at solid-state batteries being ready for production in the second half of the decade. Some of the performance targets the automaker has also hinted at include 30% more range than current lithium-ion batteries and the ability to charge to 80% capacity in as little as 12 minutes.
Toyota is another leader when it comes to solid-state battery development, at least based on the number of patents it has filed. Last summer, the automaker said it aims to have the technology ready for sale around 2027 or 2028, and has hinted at a range of well over 600 miles for an EV and with a charge to 80% taking just 10 minutes.