The first commercially viable lithium steel battery charges from a steady state in just 15 minutes

Quantumscape Lithium Steel Steady State Battery.  (Credit: Quantumscape)

QuantumScape has introduced the best overall performance figures for the first commercially possible lithium metal solid state battery.  They announce that they are able to grow 80% electric vehicle autonomy and charge from zero to 80% in just 15 minutes.

By using a stable electrolyte in preference to a standard liquid solution, steady-state batteries can retain significantly more energy by weight and volume than lithium-ion batteries;  However, creating a battery that is reliable and has a beneficial lifestyle suitable for any driver’s needs โ€“ with no excessive cost and discharge rates, long supply life, and no temperature or protection concerns โ€“ is now rigorously confirmed.

Quantumscape says it has solved the wrangle with a new design that uses lithium-steel anodes that are not designed for the production period, but are designed in a contemporary collector while charging the battery.  Energy density is reported to be excellent.  In volumetric terms, a brand-new battery can house 1 kWh/l, approximately 4 instances a contemporary Tesla model stores three batteries.  By weight, it delivers between 380-500 Wh/kg, compared to 260 Wh/kg in applications currently used by Tesla.

The QuantumScape battery charges at blazing speed, allowing for a zero-80% charge in 15 minutes.  It maintains more than 80% of its capacity after 800 cycles, which can travel about 240,000 miles (386,000 km) in an electric vehicle.

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Quantumscape lithium metal steady state battery.  (Credit: Quantumscape)

Co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery and 2019 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Dr.  Stanley Whittingham, in that respect “…the most difficult part of creating an operating steady state battery is the desire to simultaneously meet the needs of high energy density, rapid charging, a long life cycle, and a huge operating temperature range.”

These figures show that QuantumScape cells meet all of those requirements, something that has never been accomplished before.  If QuantumScape can deliver this generation to large-scale production, it has the potential to transform the industry.

According to Venkat Viswanathan, a battery professional and professor of materials technology at Carnegie-Mellon University, “…those effects blow up a previously viable concept in a solid-state battery. Withstanding current density high enough to allow rapid charging without forming dendrites is the enterprise holy grail.”

Dendrites are small, inflexible tree-like structures that can develop a lithium battery;  Their needle-like projections are called whiskers.  Both aim at spectacular damage;  Remarkably, they are able to poke a shape called a separator inside the battery, just as they poke weeds through a concrete patio or paved road.  They additionally foster undesirable reactions between the electrolyte and lithium, increasing battery failure.  Dendrites and whiskers are performing full-scale use of lithium metal batteries that have better capacity densities than their commonly used lithium-ion counterparts.

QuantumScape is an American employer that studies near-steady-state lithium metal batteries for electric cars.  The employer is located in San Jose, California and employs approximately four hundred people.  It was founded in 2010 by Jagdeep Singh, Tim Holm and Professor Fritz Prinz of Stanford University.  In 2012, QuantumScape began working with German automaker Volkswagen.

In 2018, Volkswagen invested $100 million into the employer, making it the most important shareholder.  In the same year, Volkswagen and QuantumScape introduced a joint manufacturing venture arrangement for the mass production of stable kingdom batteries.  In June 2020, Volkswagen paid employers an additional $200 million.

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In September 2020 Quantumscape announced a merger with special purpose acquisition employer Kensington Capital Acquisitions.  As an end result of the merger, QuantumScape will receive $1 billion in funding, along with investments from Volkswagen and the Qatar Investment Authority.  At the same time, employer stocks may be indexed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol QS.  The transaction was completed in November 2020 and raised capital for the manufacturing of batteries.

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Sources CREDIT: Quantumscape, Nicolas Caballero.

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