QuantumScape battery technology could revolutionize the EV market

With electrified and fully electric vehicles becoming more and more popular with consumers, lots of research and development is being put into next-generation battery technologies. Improved batteries will usher in lower-cost electric vehicles and longer driving ranges, making them more appealing to the average consumer. A new startup company called QuantumScape hosted a battery technology day this week, and the technology the company unveiled could change the electric vehicle industry.QuantumScape was founded in 2010 by Jagdeep Singh, Fritz Prinz, and Tim Holme from Stanford University. The researchers are developing solid-state batteries for EVs and other uses in industry. Solid-state batteries are very different from the liquid electrolyte batteries typically used in electric vehicles and other devices today.

Electrolytes are a critical component of standard batteries. Electrolytes are the component that allows the battery current to pass through. Typical AAA batteries use potassium hydroxide and water as the electrolyte. The significant improvement for solid-state batteries that make them a potential game-changer is that they have more potential to store energy per volume, charge faster, and are safer than lithium-ion batteries used today.

Solid-state batteries are safer because there is no liquid electrolyte to leak, and the separator between the anode and cathode is an oxide that can't burn. Traditional EV batteries have caught fire before after accidents. The big benefit of the new type of battery is they have the potential to charge very quickly. The ability to recharge the battery in 15 minutes would be a game-changer for electric vehicles. One challenge for the company is preventing dendrites from growing inside the battery leading to short-circuits.

QuantumScape recently merged with Kensington Capital Acquisition and became a publicly-traded company. The company has seen its shares increase by nearly 90 percent over the last quarter showing confidence in its products. Battery makers are critical for the electric vehicle market and are doing very well despite the downturn in the economy from the coronavirus pandemic and slower vehicle sales.