Volkswagen Set To Make Decision On Solid-State Technology From QuantumScape

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The Volkswagen Group’s decision on what exactly to do with the solid-state energy storage technology currently under development by the company QuantumScape will be made sometime before July, according to a recent report from Bloomberg.

Volkswagen Studie Golf GTI W12That report — which cited the Chairman of the Board of Management, Professor Martin Winterkorn — also noted that QuantumScape recently posted 11 new job openings, seeking, amongst other things, a director/manager of manufacturing operations, a process engineering manager to head a team developing a new energy storage technology (through demonstration of consistent production), and research and development technicians + battery engineers.

While Winterkorn is, unsurprisingly, quite bullish on the potential of the technology, the Volkswagen Group’s next move isn’t necessarily a given — despite its 5% stake in the company, there are many different potential paths it could take.

A bit of background: QuantumScape formed back in 2010, with they stated intention of commercializing the “All-Electron Battery” previously developed by researchers at Stanford (supported by the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E BEEST program). The solid-state batteries would be an alternative to liquid electrolytes, the dominant of which is lithium-ion technology.


Bloomberg provides more info:

Solid electrolytes are burn resistant and could potentially store more energy and provide more power to extend the range of electric vehicles.

The All-Electron Battery stores energy by moving electrons, rather than ions, and uses electron/hole redox instead of capacitive polarization of a double-layer. ARPA-E said that the technology uses a novel architecture that has potential for very high energy density because it decouples the two functions of capacitors: charge separation and breakdown strength.

Winterkorn said in November that he sees “great potential” in the new power-storage technology, which may expand an electric vehicle’s driving distance between recharges to as much as 700 kilometers (430 miles). That’s more than three times the range of the battery-powered version of the VW Golf. Tesla’s Model S has a range of 270 miles, according to its website.

A single-charge range of 430 miles would put electric vehicles more or less on equal (or better, if we’re really being honest) footing with gas-powered vehicles in terms of range. Most charging is done at home, and as Zachary noted yesterday, over 80% of Americans driver fewer than 60 miles a day.

Cost will likely remain a barrier for the next few years (at least), limiting adoption to expensive vehicles — but perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps things are on the verge of breaking out, and we just don’t know it yet. Perhaps an “affordable” high-range electric car will arrive sooner than we think. A VW exec was certainly confident enough about some type of battery technology to say that a 300-mile, affordable electric car is not far off.

Image Credit: Volkswagen Group

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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6 thoughts on “Volkswagen Set To Make Decision On Solid-State Technology From QuantumScape

  • Just wondering, such news and no comments???
    But the other article about RANGE had over 280 comments?

    • Not really news though, is it? We still don’t know anything about $$/kW in regards to these Solid State batteries. The fact they are making hirings indicative of a production run is exciting, and means that kind of information will be becoming clear once production starts ramping up and sales begin rolling.

      • Even less so. They can be hiring of production specialists could mean they need to determine how to produce that thing effectively. Not that they are starting but that they starting to think about production.

    • It’s old news and way to little information. Future battery technology will come, but it’s always been about promising too much and eventual lab results that can’t be produced in the real world.
      So it will take more than already reported news that they have a small stake in a potential future company providing battery improvements to excite.

      If they would have decided to put that battery in a production car relatively soon, then there would be some news.

    • Perhaps it’s because VW has been declaring themselves as some sort of ubiquitous leader in the EV game since 2009. Despite all the bluster, they are only now coming to market with one here in the US . . . cautiously, in a compliance car capacity. Nissan and Tesla pretty much beat them to the punch.

      VW builds beautiful cars. I hope they make more and more of them electric.
      I hope they get a handle on the upcoming solid state battery technology and really run with it. But it’s probably going to be GM with Sakti3’s solid state cells that will end up being in more driveways, at least here in the US.

  • If the technology is too expensive for cars, put it in phones and tablets. When costs come down, put it in cars.

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