QuantumScape sets up solid state battery pilot line

QuantumScape sets up solid state battery pilot line

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Solid state battery startup QuantumScape is planning to build its first pilot lie in San Jose, California.

The company will spend over $230m on QS-0 to build prototype multi-layer solid state batteries. It has over $1bn in cash to see it through to full production in 2024, says Jagdeep Singh, CEO & Chairman of QuantumScape.

QS-0 is intended to have a continuous flow, high automation line capable of building over 100,000 engineering cell samples per year by 2023 for backer Volkswagen and other companies.

“This will allow us to provide early cells to VW, as well as other automotive partners, explore non-automotive applications, and help de-risk subsequent commercial scale-up,” said Singh. “It will also provide capacity to make enough batteries for hundreds of long-range battery electric test vehicles per year.”

The QS solid state battery technology replaces the polymer separator used in conventional batteries with a solid-state ceramic separator, replacing the carbon or carbon-silicon anode used in these cells with an anode of pure metallic lithium. The batteries will be anode-free in a discharged state as the lithium metal anode will form in-situ when charged

“This lithium-metal anode enables higher energy density than is possible with conventional anodes (as high as 1,000 Wh/L compared with approximately 711 Wh/L for conventional cells used in today‘s best-selling EVs), enabling longer driving range, while simultaneously delivering high rates of power (for fast charge), long cycle life, and improved safety,” said Singh. “Over time, we expect to push into other markets, including stationary storage for grid applications and consumer electronics,” he said.

The company raised $730m from a reverse takeover listing in November, alongside $288m in a Series F offering and $100m expected from Volkswagen upon achieving a technical milestone in Q1’21). “These transactions have increased our liquidity position to over $1bn and we expect our current cash and aforementioned Q1’21 milestone-based investment to fully fund the long-term business through first commercial production targeted for 2024.”

QS has made 4-layer multilayer solid state battery cells in the 30x30mm form factor, with up to 800 cycles at 30°C with over 90% capacity retention at both C/3 and 1C rates. “We now need to make these multilayer cells using our commercial area 70x85mm layers, increase the number of layers, aiming first for four layers and subsequently for 8 to 10 layers by year end,” said Singh.

“We believe that achieving these milestones this year will enable us to deliver our targeted multilayer battery cell as planned, with dozens of layers in the commercial form factor, next year. To increase our capacity, we are ordering new automation and production tools, including an automated stacker and continuous flow heat treatment tools, which we need to install and bring up during the course of the year,” he said.

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