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QuantumScape Builds a 10-Layer Solid-State Battery, Beats 2021 Goals

QuantumScape has recently revealed third-party tests with its single-layer lithium metal solid-state cells that confirmed and even excelled the results it achieved on its own evaluation. In February 2021, the company said it successfully tested four-layer cells. The next step for 2021 was to create ten-layer cells. The startup announced on November 16 that it made these batteries, and they also presented great results.
QuantumScape Releases Results of Ten-Layer Cell Tests 8 photos
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Unlike SES, QuantumScape did not reveal the amperage nor the mass of its ten-layer cells. It only said that they achieved more than “800 cycles at better than one-hour charge rates at 25°C” (77ºF) while retaining more than 80% of capacity. The independent tests with single-layer cells presented capacity retention above 90%.

QuantumScape will keep increasing the number of layers its cells can have. According to the company’s CEO, Jagdeep Singh, when it starts shipping test samples to Volkswagen in 2022, they should have “a few dozen layers.” In 2023, they will be put in prototypes for real-world testing. If all goes well, Singh believes mass-production may start in 2024.

QuantumScape’s CEO already mentioned that cell expansion was a concern. With lithium metal as the anode, charging and discharging will make these cells swell and get back to their regular size. This is one of the reasons why having multiple layers is important: to check how these batteries behave in the charging process.

Another challenge will be how to mass-produce these cells. SES said that it gave up on solid-state technology because it would not be possible to put it in production lines. QuantumScape plans to do that with Volkswagen, possibly in Salzgitter, Germany, and in San Jose, where it is building QS-0. The pre-pilot line plant should be ready in 2022.

It is not clear if QuantumScape will put its four-layer and ten-layer cells through independent testing. While this is important to show the market it is not exaggerating its achievements, the startup is probably not very worried about it. Volkswagen is its leading investor, and it seems to be pretty satisfied with the results the lithium metal solid-state platform has presented so far.

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