QuantumScape Produces First 16-Layer Cells, Plans A Samples for 2022

QuantumScape reveal its plans for 2022 9 photos
Photo: QuantumScape
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QuantumScape does not seem to feel pressed with the progress of its competitors. SES said it delivered A samples of its cell to automakers, and the company said it plans to do the same… in 2022. For the solid-state cell startup, being able to make a 16-layer cell is more than enough to celebrate.
That’s one of the biggest news the company shared with its shareholders about Q4 2021 results. The 16-layer solid-state cell presented “cycling behavior substantially similar to that of our single-, 4-, and 10-layer cells and achieved over 20 cycles” so far. These cycles are 1C of full charge and discharge. For QuantumScape, the fact that the cells “match more mature designs” was a pleasant surprise.

Exactly one year and one day ago, QuantumScape said it expected to manufacture cells in the 70 mm x 85 mm form factor and with 12 layers, which would already be their commercial form. It seems the company felt confident about increasing that to 16 layers. The form factor was not revealed: the startup only said it was “commercially relevant.”

Despite that, QuantumScape indeed tested something in the 70x85 form factor: a single-layer cell without externally applied pressure. For years, that was something researchers considered necessary for lithium-metal anodes to work. QuantumScape’s cells already work at 3.4 atmospheres. After 800 cycles at 1C and nothing external to apply pressure on this battery, it managed to retain more than 80% of charge capacity.

The solid-state startup announced that it has another client apart from Volkswagen, “a top-10 global manufacturer and an international luxury automotive company.” It is Fluence, defined by QuantumScape as “a global leader in stationary energy storage products and services.”

The startup stressed that its focus is not on stationary energy storage devices. However, it will reserve part of its QS-0 production for “Fluence’s testing and validation.” QS-0 is the pilot plant for QuantumScape’s solid-state cells.

As we already said, one of QuantumScape’s goals is to provide A samples for an automaker. However, that will only happen after the startup presents its proprietary cell format. According to QuantumScape, each client will have specific requirements for these batteries, possibly resulting in different A samples.

In 2022, the company will receive the equipment it needs to put QS-0 to work. It expects manufacturing there to start in 2023. The A samples will not depend on that. The objective for QS-0 is to achieve “substantial growth in the number and qualitative technical maturity of samples.” Considering how fast a year goes by, we will not have to wait for too much to check if QuantumScape will beat these goals.
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 Download: QuantumScape's Q4 2021 letter to stakeholders (PDF)

About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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