Solid-state EV battery startup claims 'game-changing' performance

December 10, 2020 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Solid-state EV battery startup claims 'game-changing' performance
Battery technology company QuantumScape has released performance data of its solid-state lithium-metal batteries for use in electric vehicles (EVs). These batteries will help increasing the driving range of electric vehicles significantly.

A commercially viable solid-state lithium-metal battery is an advancement that the battery industry has pursued for decades, as it holds the promise of a step function increase in energy density over conventional lithium-ion batteries, enabling electric vehicles with a driving range comparable to combustion engine-based vehicles. QuantumScape’s solid-state battery is designed to enable up to 80% longer range compared to today’s lithium-ion batteries. Previous attempts to create a solid-state separator capable of working with lithium metal at high rates of power generally required compromising other aspects of the cell such as cycle life, operating temperature, safety, cathode loading, or excess lithium in the anode.

QuantumScape’s newly-released results, based on testing of single layer battery cells, show its solid-state separators are capable of working at very high rates of power, enabling a 15-minute charge to 80% capacity, faster than either conventional battery or alternative solid-state approaches are capable of delivering. In addition, the data shows that the company’s battery technology is capable of lasting hundreds of thousands of miles. In addition, they can operate at a wide range of temperatures, down to arctic -30°C.

The tested cells were large-area single-layer pouch cells in the target commercial form factor with zero excess lithium on the anode and thick cathodes (>3mAh/cm2), running at rates of one-hour charge and discharge (1C charge and 1C discharge) at 30°C. The tests demonstrated robust performance of these single layer pouch cells even at these high rates, resulting in retained capacity of greater than 80% after 800 cycles (demonstrating high columbic efficiency of greater than 99.97%).

“The hardest part about making a working solid-state battery is the need to simultaneously meet the requirements of high energy density (1,000 Wh/L), fast charge (i.e., high current density), long cycle life (greater than 800 cycles), and wide temperature-range operation. This data shows QuantumScape’s cells meet all of these requirements, something that has never before been reported. If QuantumScape can get this technology into mass production, it holds the potential to transform the industry,” said Dr. Stan Whittingham, co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery and winner of the 2019 Nobel prize in chemistry.

“These results blow away what was previously thought to be possible in a solid-state battery,” comments Venkat Viswanathan, battery expert and professor of materials science at Carnegie-Mellon University. “Supporting high enough current density to enable fast charge without forming dendrites has long been a holy grail of the industry. This data shows the capability to charge to 80% capacity in 15 minutes, corresponding to an astonishingly high rate of lithium deposition of up to a micron per minute.”

One of the companies to benefit from this battery technology would be carmaker Volkswagen who invested more than $300 million in the Silicon Valley company.

More information:

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