VW Hikes Stake Again in Next-Gen Batterymaker
Volkswagen is hiking its stake in a U.S.-based developer of solid-state batteries for electric cars.
The carmaker says it will invest as much as $200 million in QuantumScape, a Silicon Valley-based startup that hopes to commercialize its technology by 2025. The company was spun off from Stanford University in 2010.
Smaller, Faster Longer
QuantumScape believes its compact battery architecture significantly shortens charging times and will more than double the driving range possible with today’s lithium-ion batteries.
VW says its latest investment recognizes progress with the technology and is intended to help accelerate the pace of joint development work by the two companies.
“A strong position in the field of batteries is a decisive factor” in VW’s goal of taking e-mobility mainstream, says Frank Blome, who heads VW Group battery cell operations.
VW has been collaborating with San Jose, Calif.-based QuantumScape since 2012. It acquired 5% of the startup in 2014 and became the company’s largest shareholder four years later with an additional $100 million-plus investment.
The partners also set up a joint venture in 2018 to pursue industrial-level production of solid-state batteries for VW vehicles. The companies aim to finalize plans later this year for a pilot plant, suggesting that they are pleased with the feasibility of the technology.
Why It Matters
VW isn’t alone in seizing on solid-state batteries as the Next Big Thing in EV batteries. But its alliance with QuantumScape appears to be making especially strong headway in the quest to commercialize such systems.
Among others with announced plans to adopt solid-state battery technology in the next several years are BMW, Fisker, Porsche and Toyota.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
While you are probably familiar with origami, the classic art of paper folding that results in things like birds that flap their wings when you pull the tail, or plot devices in one of the Blade Runner films.
Chinese electric-car startup Nio Inc. is forming a manufacturing joint venture with Beijing E-Town International Investment and Development Co., which is investing 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the business.