Volkswagen has bought a five-percent stake in battery startup QuantumScape. Confidential sources told Bloomberg that the Volkswagen Group plans to complete tests of QuantumScape’s technology by mid-2015, and is considering using it in VW, Porsche and Audi vehicles.
Closely-held QuantumScape, founded in 2010 by former Stanford University researchers, is working on solid-state batteries, which it calls “a fundamental disruption in the field of energy storage.” Lux Research predicts that solid-state will surpass lithium-ion technology by 2030.
VW is not the only automaker interested in solid-state tech, which offers high energy and power densities, long cycle life, and a fire-resistant electrolyte. GM has invested in battery maker Sakti3, whose CEO sang the praises of solid-state in a recent panel discussion.
“I see great potential in this new technology, possibly boosting the range to as much as 700 kilometers (430 miles),” said VW CEO Martin Winterkorn in a November speech. “To really succeed with electric vehicles we need batteries with a higher range, less weight and lower cost. So, for Europe’s largest carmaker, battery technology is ranking high on our agenda.”