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Battery startup backed by VW and Tesla cofounder JB Straubel QuantumScape (QS) goes public

QuantumScape (QS), a battery startup backed by Volkswagen and Tesla cofounder JB Straubel, went public with a bang today.

The stock is already up more than 50%.

QuantumScape is a San Jose-based battery company founded 10 years ago by Jagdeep Singh, a computer scientist and cofounder of Infinera Corporation, a major telecom component supplier, and Tim Holme, a Stanford-educated mechanical engineer.

They are working on solid-state lithium-metal batteries for use in electric vehicles.

The startup’s next-generation battery cell promises to deliver improvements on all key aspects of battery cells:

  • Energy: Significantly increases volumetric and gravimetric energy density by eliminating graphite/silicon anode host material.
  • Fast Charge: Enables <15 minute fast charge (0 to 80%) by eliminating lithium diffusion bottleneck in anode host material.
  • Life: Increased life by eliminating capacity loss at anode interface.
  • Safety: Eliminates organic separator. Solid-state separator is nonflammable and noncombustible.
  • Cost: Lower cost by eliminating anode host material and manufacturing costs.

It could possibly leapfrog current li-ion battery cells with an energy density between 400 and 500 Wh/kg:

The company has delivered cell prototypes that impressed many companies resulting in over $700 million in private investments, including $300 million from Volkswagen.

It is also backed by Bill Gates’ investment fund. Chinese automaker SAIC, tier 1 auto supplier Continental, and several major VCs.

QuantumScape even impressed Tesla cofounder and former CTO JB Straubel who joined the board.

Straubel, who has tested basically every battery cell technology while at Tesla, commented:

QuantumScape’s solid-state anode-less design represents the most elegant architecture I’ve seen for a lithium-based battery system, and the company has an opportunity to redefine the battery landscape.

Now the company has gone public through a SPAC deal that brought in over $1 billion that they intend to use to bring their battery technology to mass productioin.

Volume production is still a few years away, but if successful, QuantumScape’s batteries could enable a whole new generation of electric vehicles and even enable electric flight.

Electrek’s Take

Full disclosure: I’m long QS.

I’m not a big fan of these SPAC reverse mergers, but QuantumScape really caught my attention.

First off, I am a giant fan of JB, and if he is putting his stamp of approval on the company, that’s a big deal.

I believe he is one of the most knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to batteries, and he is perfectly aware that prototypes don’t mean anything if you can’t bring them to mass production.

The fact that he believes in QuantumScape leads me to believe that the company could become a real player in the battery industry.

Also, Volkswagen, who I think is the legacy automaker most committed to electric vehicles, is heavily backing the company.

Now if their technology is as good as they claim, they won’t have any issue finding buyers, but already having Volkswagen as an early customer is going to facilitate the production ramp with specific electric vehicle programs that they are going to be working on for the German automaker.

What do you think? Let us know the comment section below.

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