QuantumScape (QS) Illustrates the “Game-Changing Potential” of Its Solid-State Batteries by Providing an Updated Comparison To a Wide Range of Alternatives Across the Battery Landscape
QuantumScape (NYSE:QS), the Bill Gates-backed company at the forefront of solid-state battery tech, now appears to be on the cusp of a full-blown bullish upthrust, with the stock registering a gain of over 21 percent relative to last Thursday’s closing price of $43.90.
Before discussing the factors behind this budding bullish move in QuantumScape shares, let’s take a look at the company’s unique approach to batteries. QuantumScape is championing an “anode-free” lithium-metal battery, where the deposition of lithium ions on the anode current collector forms a temporary anode that then disintegrates during the discharge process. Readers should note that conventional lithium-ion cells use carbon or silicon as the host material in the anode in order to provide the structure to hold lithium atoms. However, this approach is quite inefficient as it takes six carbon atoms to hold one lithium atom. This has been the primary limiting factor in increasing the energy density of conventional lithium-ion cells as a thicker, lithium-dense cathode requires an equally thicker anode, which then becomes much thicker due to the need to host anode lithium in carbon/silicon construct. By doing away with the carbon/silicon host structure in the anode, QuantumScape’s batteries can dramatically boost the energy density of the cells.
With this primer out of the way, let’s discuss the factors that have been acting as a catalyst for QuantumScape’s shares. On the 08th of March, Cowen Inc. initiated coverage of the stock with an Outperform rating and a $57 price target. Analyst Gabe Daoud believes that the electrification of mobility thematic will drive "robust" battery demand growth through 2030. Crucially, Daoud endorsed QuantumScape’s battery tech as showing “game-changing potential”. He then went on to note that additional disruptors in this sphere may emerge given the 2030 Total Addressable Market (TAM) of $230 billion.
Additionally, QuantumScape provided an updated analysis of alternatives across the battery landscape yesterday. While the analysis did paint a very rosy picture for QuantumScape’s solid-state battery, the post is notable for how far ahead the company’s tech remains when compared with comparable alternatives:
QuantumScape believes that its batteries offer much higher energy densities along with enhanced safety. Unlike conventional lithium-ion cells, which use a polymer separator and liquid electrolyte, QuantumScape uses a solid-state ceramic separator that is thermally stable. The battery also completely eschews a liquid electrolyte. Regarding capacity retention, QuantumScape notes:
“We have presented data showing single-layer versions of our solid-state lithium-metal cells can cycle more than 1000 cycles and retain over 90% of their initial energy when cycling at aggressive 1C rates of power, near room temperature, and with modest pressure. More recently, we have presented data showing multilayer cells cycling to close to 800 cycles with similar capacity retention.”
As far as the product development roadmap is concerned, QuantumScape has successfully stacked up to four layers of its cells in a 30mm-by-30mm form factor. Eventually though, the company aims to increase these layers to between 8 and 10. It also plans to employ a 70mm-by-85mm form factor for its battery cells. The company plans to start building around 100,000 cells per annum at its autonomous facility, known as QS-0, from 2023 onwards.