VW partners with Silicon Valley startup to attack Tesla

Volkswagen logo.

Volkswagen logo.

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The German carmakers are trying to close the gap to the electric car pioneer Tesla. VW is now teaming up with a Silicon Valley startup. As “Spiegel” reports, Volkswagen is now working with QuantumScape on battery research.

According to the report, this is a spin-off from the US elite Stanford University. The company has been researching batteries for ten years and is relying on the so-called solid cell as a solution for the future. It is currently being tested by VW, according to the “Spiegel” and should go into mass production in a few years so that it can be installed in millions of e-cars.

In addition to the inadequate infrastructure of charging stations, it is the low range compared to combustion engines that makes consumers hesitate to switch to an electric car. To raise funds for research, QuantamScape recently went public in New York. VW, reports “Spiegel” further, previously secured 20 percent of the company as well as the first right of access to the technology.

Solid cells are said to have many advantages over lithium-ion batteries

VW has great hope in this, because the new batteries are said to have great advantages over the lithium-ion batteries used today. According to the report, solid-state batteries of the same size should provide almost twice the range, and the charging time should also be reduced from 60 to 15 minutes today. The new batteries are also said to have advantages in the area of ​​safety, as no liquid, easily flammable electrolytes are required for production. In addition, heavy sheet steel housings should no longer be necessary, which has a positive impact on weight, range and production costs.

So the imagination is great, not just at VW. QuantumScape is already valued at 3.3 billion US dollars on the stock exchange, and the company has not yet generated any sales or profits. There is still no evidence as to whether the promising technology really delivers what the theory promises in practice.

VW also uses lithium-ion batteries in parallel

If VW’s bet works, the manufacturer could reduce the gap to Tesla. The cooperation with the Wolfsburg-based company is also of great importance for QuantumScape, after all, Volkswagen produces eleven million vehicles a year, which means that if the technology is successful, it will directly target the mass market.

Since the new technology will not meet VW’s demand for battery cells by the end of the decade, VW is building a parallel series production of lithium-ion cells with the Swedish manufacturer Northvolt, according to “Spiegel”. Both technologies will continue to exist in parallel for a long time, but solid cells will prevail in the long term, according to the VW report.



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