Dec 8, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Battery startup QuantumScape claims breakthrough

Illustration of a battery with a dollar bill wrapped around it.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

QuantumScape, a battery startup whose backers include VW and Bill Gates, announced it has made a major breakthrough in developing solid-state technology.

Why it matters: Effective solid-state batteries are something of a holy grail thanks to the promise of more energy density, durability and safety than existing battery tech.

What they're saying: “The potential now exists for this technology to make its way into real cars on real roads within the next few years," CEO Jagdeep Singh tells Fortune.

  • The company began trading publicly last week after a reverse merger.

By the numbers: Via Wired's piece on today's rollout..."According to QuantumScape’s data, its cell can charge to 80 percent of capacity in 15 minutes, it retains more than 80 percent of its capacity after 800 charging cycles, it’s noncombustible, and it has a volumetric energy density of more than 1,000 watt-hours per liter at the cell level, which is nearly double the energy density of top-shelf commercial lithium-ion cells."

The big picture: Axios alum and battery expert Steve LeVine, writing for Medium, says the data release "won’t put to rest skepticism about the reality of commercializing metallic lithium batteries."

  • But his detailed item adds: "[S]everal leading researchers who examined QuantumScape’s data said in interviews that they were impressed with what they saw, especially that the company’s battery was depicted as working at normal temperature and charging in 15 minutes or less."
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