VW Moves Forward With Solid-State Battery Partnership

SEP 20 2018 BY MARK KANE 65

Volkswagen tests QuantumScape solid-state battery sample.

The $100 million Volkswagen investment in QuantumScape, announced earlier this year, did not encounter difficulties and is now completed making the German manufacturer the largest automotive shareholder.

QuantumScape has been developing next-generation solid-state batteries since 2010 (since 2012 in collaboration with Volkswagen) and targets establishing a production line for these batteries by 2025, which is seven years from now and 15 from the start of the company.

That shows us how far those batteries really are, but as Volkswagen says there are several advantages worthy of giving it a try: higher energy density, enhanced safety, better fast charging capability and a much smaller space requirement”.

To move from research to production, Volkswagen and QuantumScape have formed a joint venture. the new company will be responsible for production.

The latest press release says that “Volkswagen has already tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power”.

“The Volkswagen Group has concluded the planned increase in its stake in the California technology company QuantumScape. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had no objection to the transaction. Volkswagen is investing 100 million USD in the battery specialist, thus becoming its largest automotive shareholder. Volkswagen will now take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape. Furthermore, Volkswagen and QuantumScape have formed a joint venture to enable an industrial level of production of solid-state batteries.

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen


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65 Comments on "VW Moves Forward With Solid-State Battery Partnership"

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Sounds very promising that the first versions of solid state batteries are already tested in cars. ! Can’t come soon enough. This will be the key to start EV revolution.

Where did you see “tested in cars”? The article says “tested at automotive rates of power” which isn’t the same thing (although good progress nevertheless).

Even if VW can manage to buy enough regulation and messaging to stop EVs, they need this reserve R&D plan.

What others have said about their deliberate tardiness giving way to being in a situation where they can’t actually catch up, is coming true. A 100k factory is progress, but we also know VW wants to grossly restrict consumer choice, and wait for the magical day when lights-off ICE, lights-on EV.

“EV’s for everyone”, remember? They’re coming!

The EV revolution is going strong. The fact the Chinese and German gov are massively subsidizing their car builders, and Tesla continues to grow, should affirm that.

Many are being subsidized.
Tesla indirectly received $7500 for about 250k car they sold in the US. They are getting money from the Dutch (each model X costing €100K gets about €20K of discount in some cases), Norwich, … add state incentives and we are talking huge amount of money – billions of dollar in just a few years.
I don’t know if your post tried to that there is some sort of discrimination, if that was the case I don’t think so.

The other carmakers are getting so much carbon subsidy, policy discussion of implied CO2 prices now sometimes hits $1,000 per ton (PV-batt, CCS, nuke). Last week, even “100%” California began recognizing responsible means more than just windmills and solar panels.

The auto sector socializes. Bad. More responsible sectors are picking up the tab, and, soon, the business.

Oil industry has 100 year head start on subsidies. EVs will soon be cheaper than gas and we already see subsidies dropping for them.

@jasonb said: “…This will be the key to start EV revolution.”

News Flash:

EV revolution is already in full swing using existing well established battery tech.

EV revolution is not dependent on a “solid-state” battery tech still in development stage that may or may not make it into market production 7 years from now.

Revolution is here when 1% of new cars are electric. Right!

Solid state batteries makes EVs on par in every aspect with ICE after which there is no reason what so ever to buy ICE.

Yes it is, the percentage is pretty irrelevant when it is doubling in size every or every other year and growing almost as fast as it possible can.

Solid state batteries will be an improvement but it’s not at all vital for the EV revolution that is currently going on.

There’s no reason now to buy an ICE. Btw it’s over 2% twice your guess, so only 100% off.

Yet 98% decides to do so. How stupid of them. They should have call you first.

What is the max range of any EV when driven 155 mph in autobahn?

@jasonb said: “Yet 98% decides to do so [buy ICE]. How stupid of them.

Yup… but it’s more an issue of uninformed intelligence than informed stupidity.

The word is quickly spreading that EV is increasingly a better alternative to ICE. So much so that Tesla is now in North America selling as many cars as BMW.

But it doesn’t change the fact that for some people are of the opinion EVs don’t fit their lifestyle. Look at me, I read about cars and EVs almost everyday and own 3 different cars, yet I don’t own one EV because they don’t fit my driving style and what I use my cars for.

@jasonb: “What is the max range of any EV when driven 155 mph in autobahn?”

Depends on the EV. For Tesla Model 3 LR ~120km… back of napkin guess.

How common is driving 155mph on the Autobahan?

What is the range of your ICE car?

Ron Swanson's Mustache

I don’t live in Germany, so using the Autobahn as a benchmark is basically a moot point for me.

Who cares? Are you saying that the majority of people drive 155 mph every day on the autobahn?

Check the video “Tesla Model 3 Hits The Autobahn” to see whether the EVs can match ICE when driven fast over long distances.

There are lots of videos of the Model 3 on the Autobahn but I can’t find the one you specifically are talking about. They ones I see are of people driving the RWD Model 3 at it’s limited top speed of 140 mph / 225 kph. What that shows me is that an EV with a limited top speed of 140 mph can drive as fast as a gas car that also has a limited top speed of 140 mph.

Anyway the Autobahn is really irrelevant unless you are the .0001% of the World’s cars owners who drive on an unlimited speed highway.

The bigger issue, and hopefully something that solid state batteries will solve is range on larger vehicles in colder climates. And that’s not 0.0001% of people.

If we truly want to replace all ICE versions of things like Pickups and Large SUV’s then we need better tech than current Li-Ion. We’re going to need 300-400kWh batteries in many cases, simply not practical without something like solid state batteries. Yes, some people can get away with 200-300 miles of warm weather non towing range in a Pickup, but start adding a trailer, or driving in Midwest/Canadian winters and that range plummets to almost unusable ranges.

If you want 200-300 miles of range in that usage case then you’re looking at 300kWh of battery, which with even future technology (such as the Roadster 2’s predicted battery) you’re looking at close to 1.5tons of battery at the cost of $30k+ competing with an ICE vehicle that can go further for less than $30k total.

I think I disagree, here, because Li-Ion’s issue vs. gas is energy density. They actually make up less of the weight of heavier vehicles.

I see what you are saying for pickup owners in the Yukon, maybe, but it wouldn’t explain why many of the GWh’s of battery storage are globally finding their way into buses, as LFP, a heavier, not lighter chemistry than NCM, NCA, etc., in cars???

When NiMH (old Prius) got replaced with Li-Ion, it was only production costs and economies of scale, before “game over”. If solid state rocks the world great. Don’t hold your breath. Maybe a range-extender, or “Workhorse” that actually exists.

Agreed on your first paragraph, as a proportion they will make up less weight for the same kWh, but that’s not as relevant when dealing with vehicles that can increase and decrease in total weight by several hundred percent (a 6,000lb pickup with 2,000lb of batteries and a 10,000lb trailer for example). With something like a bus the actual weight doesn’t change much, and the overall range is not huge (50 people don’t add that much mass relative to the empty mass of the bus in the first place, just as a few people in a car don’t add a significant mass). You design the battery around the weight of the bus and the relatively short range. With tractor vehicles however it’s different. The Tesla semi, for example, wont have batteries in it designed only to take the tractor part 500 miles. It will have batteries designed to take tractor and loaded trailer 500 miles. With Pickups and some larger SUV’s you’re going to have to do the same thing. The battery won’t be designed to carry a 6,000lb* pickup 300 miles, but a 6,000 Pickup with 1,500lb of un aerodynamic cargo, or a 6,000lb of trailer 300 miles. That… Read more »

The dominance of LFP in buses is a historical accident: almost all electric buses are from China, where the government used to favour LFP. Now that they did an about-face, Chinese passenger cars are already transitioning to NMC on a large scale, and buses are likely to follow.

It’s 1%-2% not due to lack of demand but lack of supply. There are no EVs sitting on lots for a year at a time. There aren’t enough battery factories to produce enough packs to sell the EVs people would buy if they were available by manufacturers that haven’t even offered certain models in segments that the customers want. If you could wave a magic wand and by tomorrow give a company like Tesla, who’s sole mission is to produce EVs, the financial backing to create a lineup of electric SUV, CUV and pickups with 200+ miles of range and the factories to build them then the demand would be there. The new “EV’s are failing” line is the very one you stated above whether you meant it intentionally or not. “Well clearly if people wanted EVs they would be more than 1% of the market”. We will increasingly hear that mantra more and more as the old lines of defense like, “EVs aren’t practical, EVs are only for the wealthy, EVs can’t go very far on a charge, EVs are slow” fall away. The beauty of the “1%” logical fallacy is that it can continue to be used effectively… Read more »

Lack of financial backing is not the problem for Tesla. They simply can’t efficiently grow faster than they are doing right now, according to their own statements.

What is Toyota doing to move it’s EV strategy forward?

Perhaps nothing?

If Toyota really doesn’t do anything, then it might become the “Nokia” of the car industry.

Toyota’s marketing is still promoting their hybrids which charge themselves while on the road. This message makes me hate this brand even though I’m far from being against hybrid cars.

I can’t understand how they could have been so in advance 21 years ago, and so late now.

I read somewhere that they consider current battery tech not advanced enough. May go directly to solid state battery tech.

If Toyota thinks they can Fast Track the EV forward without taking the necessary and proper stepping stones They may be in for a Rude awakening !

Why are stepping stones needed? Give examples?

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Zunum aero is currently developing electrically powered commuter aircraft with the expectation that they’ll be able to incorporate future battery technology once it becomes energy dense enough for aviation use.

Find Your Own !

I think Toyota does a lot, they just keep their cards close to their chest. They are huge, and can not publicly state they’re behind the rest in EV technology – and admit they it. Less people would buy hybrids and what not.

As for Nokia. . they were kind of betrayed by Stephen Elop from Microsoft I guess. . and before he was boss they were big and slow to change. After the job as a Nokia boss Stephen Elop was right back at Microsoft, and I bet he got a fat paycheck for lowering the value of the handset division of Nokia (they’re still delivering a lot of the technology that drives the cell phone networks, including the new 5G networks).

Toyota should start By installing their Charging Infrastructure and then Proceed….as the saying goes., “Putting the horse in front of the carriage”

Elop was only the tip of the iceberg. Even before Elop, Nokia was disqualifying themselves by refusing to adopt Android like everyone else.

(Elop made it worse though, by killing the promising MeeGo, as well as shifting from the struggling Symbian to the even more struggling Windows Phone…)

Stephen Elop the Trojan horse of Microsoft, to get Nokia down to a mere 2 billion Euros ‘salvage value’ a cheap purchase for his MS bosses.
The Nokia NET merged with Siemens Networks to NSN (now fully owned from Nokia) , which is still alive and kicking.

But the Nokia phones using Windows …. was a No-Win

Toyota is also working on solid state batteries…

Toyota and Panasonic made an agreement end of last year to develop solid state batteries.

Huh? Don’t remember hearing of that…

IIRC they are working with some start-up, though.

It’s a Japanese government initiative. Panasonic with Toyota and I think Honda and Nissan.

Toyota has an existing JV with Panasonic for hybrid batteries, and plans to use the same structure for SSB.

That doesn’t mention solid state?…

But what if 2030 rolls around and they haven’t quite worked out a production ready design and 50% of all new cars are EVs made with advanced liquid electrolyte Li-ion cells that are practically equal in all metrics to solid state. Or worse equal or better.

They don’t have endless cash on hand to sit and lose that big of their market share to standard EVs until they can get up and running with solid state. That’s a huge gamble to bid everything on a technology that isn’t guaranteed to work while others are selling cars in the tens of millions with technology that does work and that customers want while Toyota keeps working away in their lab burning cash and selling fewer and fewer cars in all segments every year.

IIRC they admitted that they will probably have to go forward with EVs before solid state electrolytes are ready…

Yes the rumors were floating around that Toyota was even leading in SSB development some years back and promised the first car with SSB for 2020.
Now it’s postponed to 2022 because technical problems to get enough Amperes through the solid electrolyte.

So is the Rest Of the World ! So What ?? Should We be Impressed.. ?? ……Lmao

We can (and do) justifiably complain about one company or another dragging its feet on EVs, but for me the most frustrating and puzzling company is Toyota. They have the resources to do something that will greatly accelerate the rEVolution, but have shown no public sign of urgency. And no, I don’t consider the plug-in Prius a significant step.

I keep hoping that behind the scenes Toyota is developing a 200-mile Prius EV, or even an all-new EV model, for example, and we simply don’t know about it.

We do know that they are working on it — they announced that two years ago. No details, though.

Toyota and Honda are going to be shocked in 3 years unless they move fast now.

Toyota started working on EVs two years ago; so we should start seeing results in three years…

Not sure about Honda.

VW is , “Grasping at Straws” to try & catch Up . They Think that Throwing money at a promising Battery maker will solve all their problem . I bet that Nothing Positive will Result from this frivilous investment .. VW will Not Buy It’s way out of this one …

Batteries that are in every aspect 2×3 times better than Li-on batteries will be deciding factor when choosing a new car. It changes the driving experience completely. 500 miles range and 10 minutes charging are not impossible dreams any more.

Do u own an electric? You obviously have a screwed up idea about EVs.

@jason said: “Batteries that are in every aspect 2×3 times better than Li-on batteries…”

Seems @jason is fixated on an unproven battery technology that may or may not make it to market production 7 years from now. In the mean time Tesla is selling as many cars as they can make with existing battery tech.

There are those that find a way to advance by leveraging what is available at hand and there are those that always find excuses to stay in place by pointing out what is lacking to move forward.

350 miles with 20-30 minute charging is already practically here. Some gas cars have a range of only 350-400 miles anyway. EVs have so many other advantages over ICEs that fueling time, IF you don’t have a home dedicated charging spot, is the only advantage ICEs have left really.

So at this point solid state or better liquid electrolyte cells will be icing on the cake and will help EVs reach the last 10%-20% of edge cases that EVs have a hard time covering but aren’t necessary in the next couple of years to continue marching toward majority adoption of the fleet by EVs.

I would say that if current cell chemistry is slightly improved with slightly lower cost for these cells then that will be more than enough to push to a majority adoption of EVs in all segments.

Cost is still the biggest barrier. For the majority of people, without rebates and cash incentives, they still cost too much. Yes, fuel is cheaper, and maintenance is cheaper (like for like at least, it’s not free on any car), but you need to be doing far more miles than the average person to break even in a cost sense.

Cost is less of an issue for first adopters and the ideological, but for the everyday family it still is. Up front prices need to be more comparable – it will happen in time, but it’s just not yet.

Batteries are only partially to blame for that, though. At current battery prices, a decent entry-level EV should cost maybe $5,000 or so more than a comparable combustion car, not $15,000 or so. There a lot of other factors. Economies of scale are an obvious one; but perhaps the most crucial — and most overlooked one — is proper price scaling. Tesla right now is the only maker offering a wide selection of power train options at different prices — yet just like with combustion cars, this is absolutely crucial for making the base models affordable.

The idea that solid state electrolytes will provide a large step-change advance in battery technology, seems rather questionable to me. The first generation of solid state batteries, with lithium metal anodes and traditional cathodes, is promising anything between 400 and 500 Wh/kg; while “traditional” cells are expected to reach ~300 Wh/kg pretty soon, and not stop there. By the time the first solid state batteries actually hit mainstream, they will likely be just an incremental improvement over liquid electrolyte batteries available by then.

(If even that: there is still hope to achieve lithium metal anodes and advanced cathodes even with liquid electrolytes, thus nixing most of the purported advantages of solid state electrolytes…)

–“traditional” cells are expected to reach ~300 Wh/kg pretty soon

They’ve been stuck around 250 for quite a while.

They are not grasping at straws. They are investing in promising technology, just like any other car maker.

I would love to see a commercializable prototype of a solid state battery. I also love to have one in my smartphone. Samsung promised it, nearly all car manufacturers promised it, Fisker promises it, Dyson, countless startups to be bought by car manuacturers. Bosch already drooped out of this technology. Like Toyotas committent to fuel cell trchnology but having countless BEV joint ventures in china….its all press to slow down the transition to BEVs. I appreciate that everyone is working on the technology for the day after tomorrow. But this is only a long term solution and is nothing to be sold in masses for the next decade. Maybe by the mid 2020s, they might start to build first solid state battery plants, then it takes longer to increase production, performance and getting costs down. Then you are suddenly in the 2030s. The lithium ion battery has never been a “breakthrough” as people often like to hear. It was a slow evolution over many decades. In times of faster innovation cycles it might be faster this time. But a technology which is even not commercialized for small applications will not start with such a sophisticated power electronics application as in… Read more »

Everybody is working on and making Solid State Battery prototypes ., From Small independent battery makers to Toyota, Hyundai, Ford , Nissan Etc: and so on . So What ? ,, It’s the “Breakthrough” that will make it Happen , This will not occur overnight ! ….VW is Grasping at Straws , Try to buy their way out of this one !

Driving fast on the autobahn is a myth, most of it has speed limits below 80mph:

“Contrary to popular myth, there are speed limits on the autobahn. While there are still a few stretches of autobahn where it is legal to put the pedal to the metal and drive at top speed, those sections are limited, and growing more limited by the year. While it may be legal, it may not be wise, that means 130 km/h (80 mph), the recommended top speed on the German autobahn (and the legal maximum speed on motorways in most European countries). Many autobahn sections have limits of 120 km/h (75 mph), 110 km/h (68 mph) or lower, especially in urban areas. Germany uses unmarked police cars and automated roadside radar/photo devices that take pictures of violators. Yes, you will see scofflaws who blatantly exceed the posted limit, but it can be expensive if you join them and get caught.”

SSB has to be able to charge quickly.