Over the last few years, there has been an impressive amount of investment into solid-state batteries, which are believed by many to represent the next step in energy storage.
But a timeline for commercialization has never been clear.
Now Volkswagen has become the latest automaker to invest in solid-state batteries for electric cars as it takes a stake in a startup that hopes to bring the tech to market.
The German automaker announced today a $100 million investment in QuantumScape, a solid-state battery startup that spun out of Stanford.
VW has been collaborating with the startup for a few years and it is now ready for a more serious commitment to bring the startup’s technology to production.
Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research, who will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape, said about the investment:
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.
QuantumScape and Volkswagen will now work together within a newly formed joint venture with “the aim to enable an industrial level of production of solid-state batteries.”
They are talking about a “long-term target” to “establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.”
Solid-state batteries are thought to be a lot safer than common li-ion cells and could have more potential for higher energy density.
VW gives the example of “a solid-state battery potentially increasing the range of the E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometers compared with the present 300 kilometers.”
However, we have yet to see a company capable of producing solid-state at a large-scale and an attractive price point.
Bosch had big plans for the technology and made significant investments for commercialization until it gave up on it earlier this year.
But several other companies are still working on the technology and it is of great interest for several automakers.