Solid-state battery specialist and Volkswagen partner QuantumScape has published performance data of prototype solid-state cells. The Americans company’s technology is said to be able to help improve the range of electric cars by up to 80 per cent compared to today’s lithium-ion cells.
Until now, not much more was known about QuantumScape’s solid-state battery technology, other than that it seemed to be a very promising approach. This was further underlined by rather famous investors, including the Volkswagen Group, which now owns a third of the California-based company. Now the team around company boss Jagdeep Singh has published test data for the first time.
The results with single-layer pouch cells suggest that the QuantumScape battery can be quickly charged to 80 per cent of its capacity in 15 minutes. In addition, after 800 cycles, the developer predicts a remaining battery capacity of more than 80 per cent, which “can cover hundreds of thousands of kilometres. The solid-state battery is also expected to be extremely fireproof and to function over a broad temperature continuum without a major drop in performance, even in cold temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees. “We believe that the performance data we’ve unveiled today shows that solid-state batteries have the potential to narrow the gap between electric vehicles and internal combustion vehicles and help enable EVs to become the world’s dominant form of transportation,” said Singh.
QuantumScape says it has spent 10 years of development to optimise the lithium metal solid-state battery to ensure everything from high energy density, fast charge capability and long life to safety and realistic operating temperature. Up to now, the low cycle stability, in particular, has been regarded as a major weakness of solid-state batteries. At the core of QuantumScape technology is a ceramic separator, which is designed to remedy precisely this. In addition, the solid-state battery does not have a classic anode. This is formed from pure lithium metal as soon as the battery is charged.
According to the Californian company, the tested cells were single-layer pouch cells with “thick cathodes” (>3mAh/cm2), which are constructed analogously to the cathodes of conventional batteries. During the presentation of the test results, Singh said that further development work will be to convert the single-layer cells into multi-layer cells and then prepare them for mass production. This is to be launched in the second half of 2024 with the help of Volkswagen. The Wolfsburg-based company will then have the right to become the first purchaser of the new batteries based on solid-state technology.
Since QuantumScape’s stock market debut almost two weeks ago, the company’s share price has already risen considerably. With the announcement of the test results, the company exceeded a market capitalisation of 21 billion dollars.