To Challenge Tesla, Volkswagen Will Buy Solid-State Battery Startup

DEC 22 2014 BY MARK KANE 51

Volkswagen seems very interested in solid-state batteries that would significantly increase the range of electric cars and is suspected as an investor in start-up QuantumScape, which was founded in 2010 in California and focused on some breakthrough technology originally derived from Stanford University.

Unofficial reports claim that Volkswagen has bought a 5% share of the QuantumScape with an option for more.

In 2012, there was a ARPA-E grant at Stanford – The All-Electron Battery: A Quantum Leap Forward in Energy Storage,

“Stanford is developing an all-electron battery that would create a completely new class of energy storage devices for EVs. Stanford’s all-electron battery stores energy by moving electrons rather than ions. Electrons are lighter and faster than the ion charge carriers in conventional Li-Ion batteries. Stanford’s all-electron battery also uses an advanced structural design that separates critical battery functions, which increases both the life of the battery and the amount of energy it can store. The battery could be charged 1000s of times without showing a significant drop in performance.”

It’s possible that QuantumScape in stealth mode continues to work on some typeof breakthrough battery and Volkswagen sees the potential.

All-Electron Battery

All-Electron Battery

Reading some descriptions on the project, we wonder if this is too good to be true- “ultra-high energy and power densities, while enabling extremely high cycle life“. We don’t know the timeframe for developments, or any price indications and Volkswagen has yet to release a comment on the investment.

By the way, on the graph we see Barium Titanate and immediately EEstor springs to mind (oh yeah…).

Sources: Bloomberg, Green Car Congress, GigaOM

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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51 Comments on "To Challenge Tesla, Volkswagen Will Buy Solid-State Battery Startup"

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ffbj

Well, solid state is the “Holy Grail” for batteries.

Jouni Valkonen

Like all religion, mostly those “holy grails” are just bullshit.

Steven

Perhaps the metaphor “Holy Grail” is undesirable to some, and I truly understand.

Perhaps you’d rather see The phrase “Ultimate Goal”?

Unlike Holy Grail, the words Ultimate Goal are not steeped in mysticism, and could be interpreted as something all researchers are working towards.

Priusmaniac

On the other hand holy grail indicated a very desirable way point which is more realistic then ultimate goal which is a never ending story, or then perhaps leading to Technos as being the ultimate of the ultimate omnipresent enforced hologram space and time controlling, the technological generations end game, what less geek people would simply call God, Yahweh, Allah, Garuda, Thor, or whatever synonym that may be.

DonC

I’ll have to call BS on your obviously ignorant claim of BS. While a solid state battery doesn’t change the chemistry like an air battery, and is hardly “the holy grail”, replacing liquid electrolytes with solids gives many benefits. These include much greater safety, easily varied form factors, greater safety, and a very high energy density by volume.

Nothing technically “out there”. Hopefully we’ll see these in consumer electronic products within two years.

Anthony Fiti

As with all battery claims, “put up or shut up.”

Solid State Batteries seem like the holy grail, and we’ve had a few companies claim success in building cells in labs (Sakti3, SolidEnergy) and having them tested by third parties. Which is a good first step, but lets see if they can get to commercialization in 2016 or 2017.

Mark Hovis

I love to hear Sakti3 CEO speak. What a bold spokesperson.

Jouni Valkonen

I would say rather how competent sales person. So fluent in speaking bullshit 😉

tftf

Sales person?

Study her CV, she’s a professor with a very impressive acadmic background:

http://amsl.engin.umich.edu/peopleProfSastry.htm?uniqname=amsastry

Jouni Valkonen

I said a _competent_ sales person. With that kind of credentials, it is easy to attract venture capital.

Sakti3 does not have even a prototype ready although they claimed that they will have that ready by the end of this year.

Paul Stoller

I watched that video and I would like to know what exactly you found to be BS. The company is already producing cells, and is working with equipment suppliers to move to production equipment. Hardly just a bunch of simulation. Unless you can provide some detailed reasoning as to why what she is saying is bullshit I will take her word over yours.

See Through

Please disregard Jouni’s rumbles. He is a notorious Tesla troll. He only takes only words from St. Elon as ordains.

Anon

How small and petty, calling someone else a Troll– when they support a company doing actual good in the world, with a positive perspective.

Ironic and yet fitting, how no one takes what you post, with as much thought or respect as St. Elon gets. 🙂

Mint

That’s hilarious.

Your’e endlessly skeptical about Musk’s claims, whose company has shipped well over over $5 BILLION of product to the most satisfied customers in the industry, but you have a problem with someone being skeptical about Sastry, who hasn’t sold a thing?

Sakti3’s battery is, at this point, no more real than that of Envia systems. Both made claims of building high density batteries, and Envia even said it was independently verified at the “Electrochemical Power Systems Department at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC)”. Yet Envia turned out to be a big investment scam. Don’t forget EEStor’s solid-state claims, either, which is yet another scam.

It’s very reasonable to think Sastry is bullshit at this point.

tftf

So because EEStor claims didn’t work out, Sakti3 claims’ (and those of others in the field) must also be wrong?

Sorry, this analogy is way too simplistic.

Battery development takes a long time and many (if not most) start-ups don’t make it in all sectors, but that doesn’t justify comparing companies like Sakti3 and others to EEStor.

Bill Howland

Very disappointed with this video… I appreciate the effort put forth in generating the link, but the only really interesting sentence in the whole thing was the “LG CHEM” spokesman stating a 200 mile, $35,000 car was probably doable by 2017. That is a huge statement.

The rest of it to me was like a discussion about the merits of Bloodletting in the 1700’s.

Jouni Valkonen

Sakti3 does not have prototype ready but they have only computer models that are based on some university basic research. I have not heard that anyone had come up with working prototype of solid state battery that cloud be used for e.g. Powering flashlight.

ffbj

Pretty much. Maybe I should have said Flim-Flam. The idea behind the holy grail comment was the search for something that is the ultimate but cannot be found.
I find the spokesperson knowledgeable but questionable. Being intelligent and being able express yourself well, does not mean you are correct.

Mint

She’s actually said that she has produced a product, and it matches computer simulation:

Of course, we’d have to take her at her word at this point.

sven

Toyota is also working on solid-state batteries and has built one that powered an electric scooter. They could be ready for commercialization by 2020. The graph in the link below shows that Toyota has already achieved its targeted power density of 2,500 W/L, and is working on increasing the energy density from the current 400 Wh/L to 650 Wh/L. Toyota is also working on Lithium-air batteries, but they won’t be commercialized until 2030 or later.

http://www.toyota-global.com/innovation/environmental_technology/next_generation_secondary_batteries.html

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/19/toyota-researching-solid-state-batteries-next-step-evs/

Ambulator

Panasonic and Tesla cells are already at around 650 Wh/l today. Toyota must be banking on longer life, higher charge rate or more stable chemistry to win.

Brian Henderson

An “all-electron battery” sounds more like a capacitor than a secondary battery. While a capacitor can store electrons on a surface, a battery stores electrons (as ions) through a much deeper layer (electrolyte) greatly increasing the volume of electrons stored.

Traditionally being liquid, ions can move freely about the electrolyte layer. With a solid state battery the question becomes how to move large volumes of electrons in and out of a solid material layer? (this implies quantum mechanics, tunneling and some electron magic at work)

Not seeing many details that hint at breakthroughs in how much charge-density (volume of electrons) can stored in this new solid-state battery.

Bill Howland

Not familiar here with the physics of the various solid state batteries.

However, the energy storage in a capacitor is in the Dielectric.

Phil Trubey

Kinda funny that the startup (Tesla) goes with proven technology and does boring mundane things like squeeze the supply chain to bring down battery costs while the established car companies do these investments in unproven, wildly risky, improbable battery startups (GM did something similar a few years ago, and it flopped).

Murrysville EV

Excellent point. This – again – shows the brilliance of Tesla’s approach. They didn’t want to re-invent the battery; designing and building cars is hard enough.

However, I didn’t expect Tesla to continue using 18650s in the Model X or Model 3, but that seems to be the plan. They have said they’d be open to producing different batteries at the Gigafactory, but with Panasonic involved, that would be like moving heaven and earth.

David Murray

Actually, I’m almost positive I heard them say they’d be using a larger cell than the 18650 for the Model III. It would still by cylindrical, though.

Lustuccc

I think the GigaFactory will produce other form factors, but meanwhile I read that The next batteries will be Panasonic’s 22700.
22 being the diameter in mm and 700 the height.

Maybe for Model X ?

Lustuccc
Rob Stark

The GF is going with a slightly larger cell than the 18650 but still cylindrical.

It is going in the Model 3 and probably the 2018 Model S and X.

See Through

Boooogus! The GF was just a ploy to get %2 billion of cheap money and $500 million free from state, which they didn’t get. Half of the $2B is already gone in covering losses. By next year, not much will be left.

Spec9

Your FUD spam is tiresome.

Anon

Pretty much anyone that reads this blog for any period of time, knows full well how out of touch with reality you are, and ignores your comments. But they are wondering why you continue to waste your personal time repeating the same conspiratorial BS FUD?

Steven

+1

Lustuccc

+2

Steven

Just wondering, is there anything you are enthusiastically supporting? Or is everything in the world Snake Oil to you?

Mint

Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong? Here’s your prediction from Oct:

“It’s not surprising. They delivered every order they had on their books, even the last minute ones, to meet the quarterly delivery guidance.

Also, it comes at the back of 2 dry monthts. If you take thr quarter as a while, this is still lower than quarters in 2013.

So, yes, Tesla’s run is over.”

You were proven wrong about Q3, when they had a record number of deliveries, and now Tesla is saying they’ll have more in Q4.

See Through

We will see how many of those so-called sales come back from the scalpers in China. Miss Veronica is gone for good reasons.

I stand by my above claim. With $200-300M lost per quarter, how much of $2B will be left after 6 quarters? We will talk again after 6 months on this.

See Through

Mint, I don’t see how I was “proven wrong about Q3”. I said they will meet Q3 as they delivered last minute orders. But they actually missed. It’s not that they make some stellar numbers to beat their own bogus records. They beat the previous records by few cars each quarter. FYI, Ford and GM each sell more pickup trucks in a week.

Lustuccc

Ford has 92 Factories, Tesla : 1

Lustuccc

GM : 99 factories

Murrysville EV

I’m not holding my breath. It’s a huge leap to go from the lab to production.

They’ll have to deal with charging issues (how do you supply gobs of power, even if the cell can take it?), thermal issues, deep discharging, high current draw, crash safety, cost containment, patent protection, supply chain issues, and manufacturing quality control.

THEN, you have to design a car around it, and the car mfr has to go through all the same tests. This takes years.

Besides, VW’s 5% stake is minimal. What did they actually spend – maybe $1 million, $5 million? Chump change, even if they lose it all on a chance like this.

I don’t see this as any threat to Tesla for quite some time, even if the stars all align in VW’s favor.

ffbj

The headline should probably read will buy a stake in, not will buy the company, just saying.

Kaiser

A next generation battery technology is hardly necessary to challenge Tesla. Nissan sells their replacement LEAF batteries for $5,500 each, which suggests their costs are similar to Tesla.

Jouni Valkonen

That 5500 dollar is a subsidized price. Nissan is making net loss with their battery replacement program, but affordable replacement batteries may help with leaf sales. Tesla is also subsidizing their replacement batteries and they offer replacement battery for 12000 dollars if bought with new car.

Lustuccc

Battery prices are a tad exagerated by the big cartel expressly to keep prices high.

Fibb

Speaking of EEstor.

As of wednesday Zenn and EEStor are really turning up the volume.

They got Dennis Zogbi vouching for them in a big way.

Check out eestor.us for a test results report from Intertek and the big report from Zogbi.

Spec9

I busted out laughing when I saw this was posted by “Fibb”.

Spec9

Headline is quite misleading. Buying 5% is much different than “Will Buy Solid-State Battery Startup” (implying buying 100%).

Anon

+1

kdawg

At least the private sector is investing in these “risky” ventures, vs. the taxpayer always taking the risk.

Jouni Valkonen

That is true. Although 99% of new tech R&D start-ups will fail, we still need that 1% that actually invents something new and useful. Therefore it may be that venture capitalism has some utility function.

With this tech however, VW involvement is immediate red flag, and therefore this does not deliver.