By: Zack Hurst
In a virtual presentation earlier today, QuantumScape revealed that their solid-state lithium batteries will charge faster, last longer, and hold more power than conventional Lithium-Ion batteries used in today’s electric vehicles.
Commercially viable solid-state batteries have been eluding the battery industry for more than 40 years, and presently there are no examples of electric vehicles that use solid-state batteries.
But QuantumScape’s batteries could change that.
Jagdeep Singh, CEO and co-founder of QuantumScape, publicly revealed testing results and data for the company’s solid-state battery. Singh claimed that the main challenges that have limited solid-state batteries in the past, such as shortened battery life, slow charging rates, and limited thermal operational ranges, have been solved.
According to QuantumScape’s data, they have developed a solid-state battery that is capable of charging 80 percent in less than 15 minutes, retains 80 percent of its capacity after many hundreds of charging and discharging cycles, and has a volumetric energy density of more than 1,000 wH/liter at the cell level. To put that last number in perspective, even the best batteries today don’t even achieve half of that energy density.
Their solid-state lithium-metal batteries differ from conventional cells in a couple of significant ways. In these cells, there are only two main layers: the cathode with an electrical contact, and a solid-state ceramic separator. Where conventional cells have an anode, there is now just an electrical contact. The cell is manufactured without an anode.
During charging, lithium ions move from the cathode through the ceramic separator and are deposited between the separator and the electrical contact forming an anode of pure metallic lithium. This lithium-metal anode allows the energy of the solid-state battery stored in a smaller volume (when compared to conventional cells) providing a higher energy density. By eliminating the conventional anode which is usually made of a carbon base, these solid-state batteries significantly increase volumetric and gravimetric density.
QuantumScape has even garnered praise from Stan Whittingham, the co-inventer of the lithium-ion battery. In a panel discussion after the presentation he said, “The hardest part about making a working solid-state battery is the need to simultaneously meet the requirements of high energy density, fast charge, long cycle life, and wide temperature-range operation. This data shows QuantumScape’s cells meet all of these requirements, something that has never before been reported. If QuantumScape can get this technology into mass production, it holds the potential to transform the industry.”
Other members of the panel included: Dr. Jürgen Leohold (former Head of Worldwide Research, Volkswagen Group), JB Straubel (Co-founder and former CTO of Tesla, member of QuantumScape's Board of Directors, CEO of Redwood Materials), Jagdeep Singh (CEO of QuantumScape), Dr. David Danielson (Managing Director of Breakthrough Energy Ventures), Dr. Venkat Viswanathan (Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University), Dr. Tim Holme (Co-Founder and CTO of QuantumScape), and Dr. Paul Alburtus (Associate Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute).
The team of scientists at QuantumScape have been working tirelessly for nearly a decade to create what is likely to be the new generation of batteries used in mass-market electric vehicles. And as Mr. Whittingham said, if they can get this technology into mass production, it will transform the industry.
While there is certainly a long way to go to get there, Jagdeep Singh said that they hope to have production of these cells up and running in 2024.
The full presentation can be watched here:
More information about QuantumScape can be found on their website.