Solid-state battery specialist and Volkswagen partner QuantumScape has delivered the first prototypes of its 24-layer solid-state cells to car manufacturers for testing. However, the company emphasises that “considerable work” is still needed to bring these cells to market.
With these prototype cells, OEMs – including certainly shareholder Volkswagen – should be able to “start the testing process in their facilities and provide feedback on the performance of the cells”, according to QuantumScape. Among the improvements that the company itself is still citing until series production, for example, are the quality, consistency and throughput of its production processes, but also “additional improvements on the product side”. According to QuantumScape, these will include increased cathode capacity loading and improved packaging efficiency.
QuantumScape announced in July 2022 that it had started tests with the 24-layer solid-state cell. The first tests with 10-layer cells started in July 2021, and QuantumScape had mentioned the first 16-layer solid-state cells in its first-quarter investor letter, which was published in early May 2022.
In July, it was announced that the 24-layer cells were expected to have “similar early capacity retention behaviour to our single, four, 10 and 16-layer cells”. Moreover, the prototypes were already packed into different cell formats at that time.
On top of the A-samples now shipped, even improved B- and C-samples are to be built and tested “in the coming years”. Specifically, there is even talk of “A0” cells. So there will probably be further iterations of the A-patterns before QuantumScape itself talks about the B-pattern.
The A0 patterns are a new, self-developed cell format, which QuantumScape describes as a “hybrid of prismatic and pouch cells”. This has been developed “to support the uniaxial expansion and contraction of lithium metal during charging and discharging”. In 2023, QunatumScape plans to unveil the cell format in more detail at a virtual event.
“I’m proud of our team for all the effort and determination that went into achieving this milestone, especially in light of the challenges we encountered this year,” said Jagdeep Singh, CEO and co-founder of QuantumScape. “While this milestone brings us closer to our ultimate goal, there’s still a lot to do before this technology becomes a commercial product, and we now turn our attention to this important work.”