The quest for solid state batteries got a boost this week, with QuantumScape announcing the launch of what seems to be the first commercially viable solution in this space. Their technology, a lithium metal solid state battery, claims that it can increase an electric car’s range by up to 80 percent, while the energy density goes up to more than twice what conventional batteries are offering right now.
Solid-state batteries can store significantly more energy by weight and volume than lithium-ion batteries because they use a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid solution; however, developing a battery that is reliable for all our daily needs has been rather tricky so far. Nevertheless, QuantumScape claims that all the problems related to high charge and discharge rates or a long service life without temperature concerns, have been dealt with on their new design.
This uses lithium-metal anodes formed around the current collector when the battery is charged. According to the company, the energy density, in volumetric units is 1kWh/liter, which would be roughly four times more than what a Tesla Model 3 stores right now, for example.
These solid-state batteries are a bit heavier though. Therefore, by weight, they offer between 380-500 Wh/kg, as compared to 260 Wh/kg in packages currently used by Tesla. Even so, there are other advantages playing in favor of the new technology, such as charging times. QuantumScape claims that their new models can recharge from 0-80 percent in 15 minutes without long-term issues. According to the company, after 800 cycles (which would account for about 240,000 miles traveled), their batteries would still have more than 80 percent capacity.
This development would directly help out one key car manufacturer right now: Volkswagen. The German brand invested $100 million in QuantumScape back in 2018 and helped raise $1 billion in financing for the San Jose-based start-up in 2020, following another injection of capital of $200 million.