QuantumScape (QS) Secures a Major Endorsement From Volkswagen (VW) for Its Proprietary Solid-State Battery Tech

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QuantumScape (NYSE:QS), the company pioneering solid-state battery tech, has secured a major endorsement from Volkswagen (VW), thereby supercharging the bullish spirits in its stock.

According to the statement released by QuantumScape, the company has “met the technical milestone that was a condition to close for the [sic] investment of an additional $100 million by Volkswagen Group of America Investments …”

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Delving into the details, QuantumScape noted:

“The milestone required Volkswagen to successfully test the latest generation of QuantumScape’s solid-state lithium-metal cells in their labs in Germany. This will be the second and final closing under the May 14, 2020 stock purchase agreement between VW and QuantumScape that provided for a total $200 million investment.”

As is evident from this statement, Volkswagen’s investment in QuantumScape will now swell to $200 million. This is, of course, not the only high-profile backing that the company has received in recent months. As an illustration, QuantumScape has already secured support from Microsoft founder Bill gates, German auto supplier Continental, and the Chinese automaker SAIC Motor.

For those unfamiliar with QuantumScape’s battery tech, the company is developing 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.

While QuantumScape will only officially launch its product by 2024, it has already demonstrated the commercial viability of its batteries. As an illustration, during the ongoing testing of the single-layer version of its solid-state battery, the company claims to have successfully completed 1,000 cycles while retaining over 90 percent capacity (1C rate of power, near room temperature, and modest pressure conditions). These batteries also support the ability to fast-charge to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes. Additionally, QuantumScape claims 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, these batteries use a solid-state ceramic separator that is thermally stable. The battery also completely eschews a liquid electrolyte. As far as its product development roadmap is concerned, QuantumScape has successfully stacked up to four layers of its cells in a 30mm-by-30mm form factor. Eventually, 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.

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Given the momentous nature of this announcement, it is hardly surprising that QuantumScape shares are surging, having already recorded a gain of over 14 percent in today’s early pre-market trading.