QuantumScape, one of the most well-known solid-state battery developers, shipped its first batch of 24-layer lithium-metal cells to electric vehicle manufacturers for in-house testing.
According to the company’s official press release, these prototype cells are known internally as “A0” samples and represent QuantumScape’s biggest milestone for 2022. Previously, the California-based startup managed to come up with a new cell format that allows the lithium metal to expand and contract during charge and discharge.
The company says this is a hybrid between prismatic and pouch cells, and it’s one of the key improvements that allowed it to move forward with development and send its first batch of prototypes to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
As for energy storage, the same press release mentions that a single, 24-layer cell has a capacity “in the multi-amp-hour range,” without expressing an exact value. This is understandable, considering the development of this technology still has a long way to go until it reaches mass production.
“While this milestone brings us closer to our ultimate goal, there’s still a lot to do before this technology becomes a commercial product, and we now turn our attention to this important work,” said Jagdeep Singh, CEO and co-founder of QuantumScape.
The A0 samples sent to OEMs for testing are part of the company’s first generation of prototypes and feature 24 layers, each comprising a solid-state separator, a cathode, and an in-situ-formed lithium-metal anode. Subsequent generations (B and C) are expected to bring more improvements over the coming years.
QuantumScape has the Volkswagen Group and Bill Gates among its biggest investors, and last year it managed to achieve an impressive goal in the laboratory with an older, 10-layer cell prototype. The tested cells retained more than 80% of their capacity after 800 charging cycles or the estimated equivalent to 240,000 miles (386,000 kilometers) of driving an EV.
The Californian company isn’t the only one trying to bring solid-state batteries to market. StoreDot, SolidPower, Samsung SDI, and ProLogium are also working on this technology, which has the potential to offer much faster charging times (0-80% in 15 minutes), a lower risk of fires, and lower manufacturing costs.