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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."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Dec 25, 2020 - Health

NYT: Fauci acknowledges moving goalposts on herd immunity from COVID-19

President Trump passes Dr. Anthony Fauci after a coronavirus task force briefing on March 26. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Dr. Anthony Fauci has long cited 60% to 70% as the level of COVID infection/vaccination the country would need to achieve herd immunity — for the disease to fade and life to return to normal, writes the New York Times' Donald G. McNeil Jr.

But, but, but: "About a month ago, he began saying '70, 75 percent' in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said '75, 80, 85 percent' and '75 to 80-plus percent,'" McNeil writes.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.