Solid-state batteries promise to drastically improve electric vehicles and Volkswagen has announced plans to put them into production by 2025.
In order to achieve this goal, the automaker is increasing its stake in the QuantumScape Corporation and forming a new joint venture with the company. As part of the move, Volkswagen will invest $100 million into the company and become its largest automotive shareholder – subject to regulatory approval.
Volkswagen has been working with QuantumScape since 2012 and says this cooperation has resulted in “significant technical progress.” Thanks to the close relationship, the two companies will form a joint venture which aims to put solid-state batteries in production at an “industrial level.” Volkswagen went on to say a production line is targeted to be operational by 2025.
In return for the company’s investment, VW Group Research boss Dr. Axel Heinrich will become a member of QuantumScape’s board of directors. He stated “We want to accelerate the commercialization of QuantumScape’s solid-state batteries” and “combine forces to leverage Volkswagen’s experience as a production specialist.”
Heinrich went on to say “The solid-state battery will mark a turning point for e-mobility” and he’s probably right. As Volkswagen noted, a solid-state battery would increase the range of the e-Golf from 300 km (186 miles) to approximately 750 km (466 miles).
Besides offering a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries are safer, more compact and offer faster charging capabilities. Volkswagen also noted using a “solid-state battery of the same size as a current battery package can achieve a range comparable to that of conventional vehicles.”
While solid-state batteries offer a lot of promise, Volkswagen cautioned that advances have been difficult to achieve. However, the company has successfully tested solid-state battery sample cells at “automotive rates of power” which the company claims is an industry first.