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VW Investing $100 Million in Solid State Battery Maker QuantumScape

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【Summary】Volkswagen is placing a big bet on solid state batteries for electric vehicles. The German automaker is investing $100 million in a new joint venture with Silicon Valley battery firm QuantumScape.

Eric Walz    Jun 21, 2018 5:57 PM PT
VW Investing $100 Million in Solid State Battery Maker QuantumScape

Volkswagen is placing a big bet on solid state batteries for electric vehicles. The German automaker is investing $100 million in a new joint venture with Silicon Valley battery firm QuantumScape.  The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

With its investment, Volkswagen will become QuantumScape's largest automotive shareholder.

"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. Volkswagen is thus taking another step toward a sustainable, zero emission mobility for our customers in the future." said Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research.

Solid-state batteries promise improved safety and faster charging times for electric cars compared to the liquid-type batteries currently in use. This battery technology has further advantages over the present lithium-ion technology—higher energy density—which translates into extended range for electric vehicles.

Since 2012, Volkswagen Group Research has already been collaborating closely with QuantumScape. The two companies will work together within a newly formed joint venture with the aim to enable an industrial level of production of solid-state batteries. One of the long-term targets is to establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.

"Volkswagen is the world's largest automotive manufacturer and leads the industry in its commitment to electrification of its fleet," says Jagdeep Singh, CEO of QuantumScape. "We are thrilled to be chosen by Volkswagen to power this transition. We think the higher range, faster charge times, and inherent safety of QuantumScape's solid-state technology will be a key enabler for the next generation of electrified powertrains."

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Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in San Jose, California. The company holds around 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology.

"The solid-state battery will mark a turning point for e-mobility", says Axel Heinrich of Volkswagen Group. "By increasing our stake in QuantumScape and forming the joint venture we strengthen and deepen our strategic cooperation with an innovative partner and secure access to the promising QuantumScape battery technology for Volkswagen."

Solid-state battery cell technology is seen as the most promising approach for the e-mobility of the future. For example, a solid-state battery would increase the range of the VW E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometers (466 miles) compared with the present 300 kilometers.

In addition, a solid-state battery of the same size as a current battery package can achieve a range comparable to that of combustion engine vehicles. While the approach has a lot of promise, advances have been difficult to achieve and developments have been slow. To date, no other battery supplier has been able to achieve automotive performance sufficient for mass-production.

Volkswagen successfully tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power—an industry first.

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