Volkswagen has advanced to the largest shareholder of Stanford-spinoff Quantumscape as the German corporation invests 100 million dollars. Forming a new joint venture with the solid-state experts, VW hopes to secure their grip on the new battery technology first.
The transaction is still subject to approval but everything suggests that Volkswagen will indeed become the largest partner of QuantumScape, a startup for solid-state batteries that VW had been working with since 2012.
On increasing their share, Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research, who will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape, says: “We want to accelerate the commercialization of QuantumScape’s solid-state batteries. And we combine forces to leverage Volkswagen’s experience as a production specialist and QuantumScape technology leadership.”
But the cooperation will deepen on another level as Quantumscape and Volkswagen form a new joint venture with the aim to enable scaling up the production of solid-state batteries. One of the long-term targets is to establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.
Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in California and holds about 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology.
Volkswagen sees the future of electric cars in their technology. For example, a solid-state battery would increase the range of the E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometres compared with the present 300 km. While advances have been slow, Volkswagen says they successfully tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power—an industry first.
Also in Japan, carmakers are rushing to commercialise solid-state batteries reportedly. Toyota, Nissan and Honda just joined forces with Panasonic to work on solid-state batteries for electric cars in a consortium that includes 23 firms in total. They aim to commercialise solid-state batteries in the early 2020ies. Clearly, the race for the next generation of battery technology is on.