Volkswagen-backed solid-state battery startup QuantumScape announced it has shipped its first 24-layer prototype lithium-metal battery cells to automotive OEMs for testing. Delivery of these cells, referred to as A0 samples, was the company’s key public milestone for the year, and achieving this goal represents an important step toward the commercialization of this technology.
With 24 layers, each comprising a solid-state separator, a cathode, and an in-situ-formed lithium-metal anode, these prototype cells have capacities in the multi-amp-hour range, a range the company believes is relevant for a variety of applications, including automotive and consumer electronics.
With these cells, the OEMs can start the testing process at their facilities and provide feedback on the performance of the cells. The company still has substantial work ahead to bring this technology to market, including improvements to the quality, consistency, and throughput of its production processes, and additional enhancements on the product side, such as increased cathode capacity loading and improved packaging efficiency. The company expects to deliver improvements on these fronts in subsequent generations of A, B, and C samples over the coming years.
“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.”
The A0 cells were built in QuantumScape’s new cell format, which was another important goal for the year. This new architecture is a hybrid between prismatic and pouch cells designed to support the uniaxial expansion and contraction of the lithium metal during charge and discharge. The company plans to host a virtual event in the new year to share more about this innovative new cell format. Details will be posted on QuantumScape’s website and social media accounts.