• Objective of new joint venture with QuantumScape is the commercialisation of  solid-state battery technology by 2025
  • Volkswagen is the largest automotive shareholder in Stanford spin-off QuantumScape Corporation

Volkswagen is increasing its stake in the California technology company QuantumScape Corporation and forming a new joint venture to commercialise solid-state battery technology by 2025.

Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research, who will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape, says: "We want to accelerate the commercialisation of QuantumScape's solid-state batteries. And we combine forces to leverage Volkswagen's experience as a production specialist and QuantumScape technology leadership. Volkswagen is thus taking another step toward a sustainable, zero emission mobility for our customers in the future."

Volkswagen will invest USD100m in US-based QuantumScape and will become the innovative enterprise's largest automotive shareholder. Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Since 2012, Volkswagen Group Research has already been collaborating closely with the Stanford spin-off.  Based on the significant technical progress that this cooperation has made, QuantumScape and Volkswagen will work together within a newly formed joint venture with the aim to enable an industrial level of production of solid-state batteries. One of the long-term targets is to establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.

"Volkswagen is the world's largest automotive manufacturer and leads the industry in its commitment to electrification of its fleet," says Jagdeep Singh, CEO of QuantumScape. "We are thrilled to be chosen by Volkswagen to power this transition.  We think the higher range, faster charge times, and inherent safety of QuantumScape's solid-state technology will be a key enabler for the next generation of electrified powertrains."

Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in San José, California and holds approximately 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology.

"The solid-state battery will mark a turning point for e-mobility," says Axel Heinrich of Volkswagen Group. "By increasing our stake in QuantumScape and forming the joint venture we strengthen and deepen our strategic cooperation with an innovative partner and secure access to the promising QuantumScape battery technology for Volkswagen."

VW says a solid-state battery would increase the range of the E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometres compared with the present 300 kms. The battery technology comes with other advantages over lithium-ion technology: higher energy density, enhanced safety, better fast charging capability and they take up significantly less space. A solid-state battery of the same size as a current battery package can achieve a range comparable to that of conventional vehicles.  

VW notes that while the approach has a lot of promise, advances have been difficult to attain and no other battery supplier has been able to achieve automotive performance. Volkswagen says it has successfully tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power.