A new joint venture between Volkswagen Group and QuantumScape Corporation was announced. Dr. Axel Heinrich, head of VW Group Research, who will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape, said, “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 will invest $100 million in U.S.-based QuantumScape and will become the enterprise’s largest automotive shareholder. Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
Volkswagen Group Research has been collaborating with the Stanford spinoff since 2012. QuantumScape and Volkswagen 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.
Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in San José, CA, and holds approximately 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology. Solid-state battery cell technology is seen as the most promising approach for the e-mobility of the future, according to Volkswagen. The company says that a solid-state battery would increase the range of the e-Golf to approximately 750 km (466 mi) compared with the present 300 km (186 mi).
According to Volkswagen, this battery technology has further advantages over the present lithium-ion technology: higher energy density, enhanced safety, better fast charging capability, and—above all—they take up significantly less space. A solid-state battery of the same size as a current battery package can achieve a range comparable to that of conventional vehicles. While the approach shows much promise, advances have been difficult to attain.