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QuantumScape ships Alpha-2 prototypes

Metal Tech News - March 27, 2024

On track for key goal in 2024, headed steadily onward in aims for 2025.

Nextgen solid-state battery tech leader QuantumScape has started customer shipments of its Alpha-2 prototype battery cells, on target for its 2024 goal.

Toward achieving its mission to transform energy storage with solid-state lithium-metal battery technology, the company began shipping its A0 prototypes to potential automotive customers for qualification at the end of 2022.

The company's new Alpha-2 prototypes integrate many significant improvements made over the last year. As a result of these upgrades, the six-layer Alpha-2 prototype is more energy-dense than the earlier 24-layer A0 prototype.

Now, the company has shipped the latest iteration of its solid-state battery to automotive companies like Volkswagen Group, which has been one of QuantumScape's main investors since 2012, for qualifications.

Previous testing of A0 prototypes by Volkswagen-backed PowerCo underscored the durability and potential of QuantumScape's solid-state battery technology.

"These results from the Volkswagen Group's PowerCo testing make clear that QuantumScape's anodeless solid-state lithium-metal cells are capable of exceptional performance," QuantumScape Chairman Jagdeep Singh said. "While we have more work to do to bring this technology to market, we are not aware of any other automotive-format lithium-metal battery that has shown such high discharge energy retention over a comparable cycle count under similar conditions. We're excited to be working closely with the Volkswagen Group and PowerCo to industrialize this technology and bring it to market as quickly as possible."

"The A0s were early prototypes intended to demonstrate the core capability of the technology, ahead of achieving the reliability and other characteristics expected of a commercial product," Wrote PowerCo CEO Frank Blome in a Q4 fiscal 2023 letter to shareholders, relaying their longtime partner Volkswagen Group's success with achieving over 1,000 cycles with over 95% capacity retention.

"These are very encouraging results that impressively underpin the potential of the solid-state cell. The final result of this development could be a battery cell that enables long ranges, can be charged super-quickly, and practically does not age. We are convinced of the solid-state cell and are continuing to work with our partner QuantumScape toward series production," Blome concluded.

Alpha-2 battery prototypes integrate several significant component improvements and represent a significant milestone on the roadmap to deliver QuantumScape's first planned commercial product, the QSE-5.

Acing the lab tests

"The improvements in energy and power densities demonstrated by the Alpha-2 prototypes indicate that QSE-5 can push the boundaries of solid-state battery performance," said QuantumScape Chief Technology Officer Tim Holme. "We continue to advance our anode-free, solid-state battery in performance and maturity with methodical execution on our milestones."

Improvements of note in the six-layer Alpha-2 prototype include packaging that optimizes the materials and space within the cell, making it more energy-dense than the earlier 24-layer A0 prototype due to higher-loading cathodes packed with more active material. The packaging improvements include tighter internal margins, thinner current collectors, and a slimmer design, all of which are integral to streamlining the final product.


QuantumScape's next-generation battery cells are designed to enable greater energy density, faster charging and enhanced safety to support the transition away from carbon-heavy energy sources.

The Alpha-2 cells are also an intermediate step between the previous A0 and the QSE-5 B0 prototypes coming later this year.

Alpha-2 cells allow QuantumScape's customers to further test key performance parameters and prototype-level reliability, a main functionality also featured in the upcoming QSE-5.

While Alpha-2 prototypes are in customer labs being tested, QuantumScape is working to integrate those component-level improvements into the QSE-5 cell design, which will include 24 layers and use electrolyte separators produced using a faster Raptor equipment and process.

"The Alpha-2 shipments represent an important milestone on our path to commercialization," said Siva Sivaram, newly appointed CEO of QuantumScape. "Customer feedback is the most critical input in the product development cycle as it provides insight into areas that need improvement and strengthens collaboration. The faster we can get new product iterations into customers' hands, the faster we get to production. We are very encouraged by the initial Alpha-2 performance results and excited about the first QSE-5 cells we expect to manufacture later this year."

The company will continue to build and ship out Alpha-2 prototypes while improving reliability and production with customer feedback.


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