Volkswagen buys piece of solid-state battery startup

Solid State Battery

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.

MORE: New report: Solid-state batteries will rule by 2030, driven by consumer electronics

“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.”


Source: Bloomberg via Gigaom

  • Phil Tuttobene

    Love it. Expect gas prices to keep falling as the oil companies see the writing on the wall.

  • Derek Wilson

    Carmakers should consider taking a phased in approach with solid state. If a PHEV can be developed with 20 miles lithium and 20 miles solid state, then at least the technology gets tested. With my Accord PHEV, I get 80-90 MPG with only 15 miles EV range. So while 430 miles sounds great, it may be more productive to set a near term target which allows for the battery technology to be swapped out or expanded as it improves. Whoever solves this problem first will be a huge winner.