A battery startup backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen says its cells can charge in half the time of Tesla's Model 3

A battery startup backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen says its cells can charge in half the time of Tesla's Model 3
QuantumScape CEO Jagdeep SinghQuantumScape
  • QuantumScape says it's made a solid-state battery cell that is more powerful than those used by Tesla and others.
  • They can also charge to 80% capacity in 15 minutes, while remaining efficient in cold weather.
  • The new cells are a potential game changer if QuantumScape can manufacture them at scale, Tesla cofounder J.B. Straubel said.

QuantumScape, one of the newest entrants to the red-hot electric-vehicle industry, could have one big leg up on Tesla.

The Bill Gates and Volkswagen-backed company said Tuesday that its solid-state battery can charge to 80% capacity in 15 minutes, or about half of the time required for Tesla's newest Superchargers. The company also said its cells work in colder temperatures, last longer, and don't require lithium on the anode - which can reduce efficiency - because it technically doesn't have an anode.

"Seeing these performance numbers is almost unheard of: roughly 50% improvement in volumetric energy density is incredible when we are used to seeing single-digit percent per year and that was hard to achieve and a great outcome," Tesla cofounder JB Straubel said at a press conference hosted by QuantumScape. "Jumping to something like 50% is game-changing."

However, the company will next have to prove it can manufacture the new batteries at scale, something Elon Musk can attest is not easy. If the startup is successful, it could play a pivotal role in solving a decades-long problem in batteries that's currently the biggest barrier to reduced prices and widespread adoption.

QuantumScape went public earlier this year amid a spate of electric-vehicle reverse mergers, raising $700 million in the process. Its shares have more than doubled since the stock began trading on Nov. 27, including a 52% surge since Tuesday's event.


"We believe that the performance data we've unveiled today shows that solid-state batteries have the potential to narrow the gap between electric vehicles and internal combustion vehicles and help enable EVs to become the world's dominant form of transportation," CEO Jagdeep Singh said in a press release.

"Lithium-ion provided an important stepping stone to power the first generation of EVs. We believe QuantumScape's lithium-metal solid-state battery technology opens the automotive industry up to the next-generation battery and creates a foundation for the transition to a more fully electrified automotive fleet."