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

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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Written By

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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