Volkswagen AG bought a stake in solid-state battery startup company for Tesla Challenge

Volkswagen AG bought a stake in battery startup QuantumScape with the aim of developing technology that can more than triple the range of its electric vehicles

12/20/14 4:00 am chumakdenis 1

Not so far along we've talked about upcoming sports models with 700 km battery range (more details here ) and guess what happened next?

Of course, Volkswagen AG bought a stake in battery startup QuantumScape Corporation with the aim of developing technology that can more than triple the range of its electric vehicles and make VW AG a leader in EV marketplace.

This novel battery stores energy by moving electrons, rather than ions, and uses electron/hole redox instead of capacitive polarization of a double-layer. This technology uses a novel architecture that has potential for very high energy density because it decouples the two functions of capacitors: charge separation and breakdown strength. If successful, this project will develop a completely new paradigm in energy storage for electric vehicles that could revolutionize the electric vehicle industry.

VW is considering using the energy-storage  technology, which is fireproof, for vehicles from the namesake brand as well as Porsche and Audi, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Tests to show the system is viable for cars are due to be completed in mid-2015, they said. The VW of America unit bought a 5 percent holding and has options to raise the stake.

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Winterkorn sees new battery technology possibly boosting the range of electric vehicles to as much as 430 miles

Boosting battery capacity and improving safety could help Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest automaker, gain a technological edge over Tesla Motors Inc., the Palo Alto , California-based electric-car producer led by billionaire Elon Musk. Tesla came under scrutiny by regulators last year after fires involving the Model S sedan.

No details about funding

2609.jpgPeter Thul, a spokesman at Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW, declined to comment on any investment. Calls to the main switchboard and an e-mail to San Jose-based QuantumScape seeking comment weren’t answered. Financial details of the company weren’t available.

 

A few words about QuantumScape

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QuantumScape is an early-stage battery startup that has been working on commercializing technology from Stanford University. It was was founded and is being led by Infinera co-founder and CEO Jagdeep Singh, and is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Khosla Ventures.

Licensing technology from Stanford, the company has been looking to create batteries that are energy dense as well as safer than standard lithium ion batteries. The company’s technology uses a new method for stacking trace amounts of materials together, which can lead to high energy and power densities, and also higher cycle life than traditional lithium ion batteries.

2614.jpg“I see great potential in this new technology, possibly boosting the range to as much as 700 kilometers (430 miles),” VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkom said in a Nov. 6 speech at Stanford University in California. That’s more than three times the range of the battery-powered version of the VW Golf. Tesla’s Model S has a range of 265 miles, according to its website.

Putting pressure on Tesla

While demand for electric vehicles remains tepid, the technology is critical for meeting tightening emissions regulations, especially for luxury-car manufacturers such as VW, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Volkswagen’s increased focus on electric cars would put pressure on Tesla to maintain its sales lead.

The German automaker employs about 44,000 research and development engineers and spends $13 billion a year on new technology. Tesla’s entire workforce totaled about 5,800 employees  at the end of 2013, and research and development expenses were $280 million in the first nine months of 2014.

“Electrochemistry is a field of the greatest importance internationally and across industries,” and is “a field where we can and must achieve progress,” Winterkorn said in the speech. In July, he said the company had invested in a battery-technology company without providing details.

  peter thul solid-state batteries innovations future technologies electric vehicle quantumscape volkswagen

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