QuantumScape battery factory, supported by VW and Bill Gates, goes public with a valuation of $ 3.3 billion

QuantumScape battery factory, supported by VW and Bill Gates, goes public with a valuation of $ 3.3 billion

QuantumScape, the 10-year Silicon Valley battery startup backed by Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), said on Thursday that it plans to go public through a reverse merger with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp with a business value of $ 3.3 billion.

QuantumScape Stock Price


Company based in San Jose and created in 2010 by Stanford University, said it will form a joint venture with VW to produce solid-state battery cells, starting in 2024, for VW electric vehicles and, eventually, for other automakers.

“Our ambition is to be a (battery) supplier to the industry as a whole,” said QuantumScape founder and CEO, Jagdeep Singh, in an interview.

QuantumScape is the latest transport startup to partner with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Among the recent transactions supported by SPAC: the manufacturer of Lidar Luminar, the maker of electric trucks Nikola, the maker of electric buses Canoo and the maker of electric cars Fisker.

VW has committed more than $ 300 million to QuantumScape.

Investors include Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.

The SPAC deal is expected to close in late 2020, when the new company will be traded on the NYSE under the symbol QS.

Singh said QuantumScape‘s lithium metal battery uses a solid ceramic electrolyte, which he said is safer than using a conventional liquid electrolyte. It also eliminates the need for an anode, allowing the battery to charge faster – up to 80% capacity in just 15 minutes. In addition, its energy density is much higher, exceeding 400 watt-hours per kilogram, which far exceeds 250 Wh / kg for today’s best lithium-ion batteries.

“The company has an opportunity to redefine the battery landscape,” said Tesla (TSLA.O) co-founder J.B. Straubel, CEO of Redwood Materials, a battery recycling startup in Silicon Valley.

Scientists have long seen lithium-metal batteries as an ideal technology for energy storage, leveraging the lightest metal on the periodic table to deliver cells jam-packed with energy.


What is a solid-state lithium-metal battery is a battery?

A solid-state lithium-metal battery is a battery that replaces the polymer separator used in conventional lithium-ion batteries with a solid-state separator.
The replacement of the separator enables the carbon or silicon anode used in conventional lithium-ion batteries to be replaced with a lithium-metal anode.
The lithium metal anode is more energy dense than conventional anodes, allowing the battery to store a greater amount of energy in the same volume.

What are the main benefits of solid-state lithium-metal batteries compared to lithium-ion batteries?

Relative to a conventional lithium-ion battery, solid-state lithium-metal battery technology has the potential to increase the cell energy density (by eliminating the carbon or carbon-silicon anode), reduce charge time (by eliminating the charge bottleneck resulting from the need to have lithium diffuse into the carbon particles in conventional lithium-ion cell), prolong life (by eliminating capacity fade that results from the unwanted chemical side reaction between the carbon and liquid electrolyte in conventional lithium-ion cells), improve safety (by eliminating the combustible organic porous separator and organic anolyte material in conventional cells) and lower cost (by eliminating the anode materials and manufacturing costs).

Did Bill Gates invest in QuantumScape?

QuantumScape was founded in 2010 by Singh and backed early by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and auto giant Volkswagen. Both continue to be investors in QuantumScape.