QuantumScape, a battery startup that counts Volkswagen Group as its largest shareholder, says new data show its batteries can be charged to as much as 80 percent of full power in 15 minutes, almost twice as fast as a Tesla Model 3.
The performance data, which have yet to be road tested, suggests QuantumScape's batteries could offer about 50 percent more miles than the same electric car with current commercial battery technology.
They also can be charged 800 times with minimal degradation, meeting a benchmark for batteries in most electric vehicles. But the startup has yet to demonstrate it can mass manufacture its new battery.
QuantumScape raised more than $700 million by going public via a reverse merger earlier this year. It's now seeking to bolster investor confidence it can pull off a breakthrough that has eluded battery researchers for decades.
The California-based company is one of several startups and incumbents trying to develop solid-state batteries, an innovation that holds the promise of dramatically speeding up EV adoption by providing automakers with a safer, cheaper alternative to lithium ion batteries.
The big question is whether the process QuantumScape used in the lab can work in a factory setting, said Venkat Srinivasan, director of the government-backed Argonne National Laboratory's battery center, who spoke before seeing the data. "For most startups, that's where they got stuck."
Solid-state batteries use solid materials instead of flammable liquids to enable charging and discharging. They could potentially pack more energy than lithium ion batteries to extend driving range, lower costs, improve safety and cut recharging times -- putting EVs on par with gasoline-powered vehicles. QuantumScape's battery uses an electrolyte gel in only one half of a typical lithium ion battery, which means it's yet to fully exploit the technology's potential.