Almost every major automaker in the world appears to be closely watching Tesla thanks to the initial success of its Model S. Volkswagen Group has already expressed plans to build a Model S rival under the Audi brand, and has made further strides in the same direction after purchasing a stake in battery startup QuantumScape Corp.
According to Bloomberg, QuantumScape owns technology which can more than triple the range of VW’s current electric cars. The company’s fireproof energy storage technologies are reportedly being considered for future Porsche and Audi vehicles, with some systems set to be complete by mid-2015.
Volkswagen purchased a 5 percent stake in QuantumScape and is looking to gain a technological edge over Tesla. The California-based automaker came under scrutiny after multiple reports of fires in the Model S surfaced, giving others like VW a chance to come in and capitalize on the negative press with new fireproof tech.
In addition to its fireproof energy storage tech, QuantumScape is also working on solid-state batteries, as opposed to the liquid electrolyte and lithium-ion setups current used in the majority of electric cars. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said he sees “great potential” in the technology, which could theoretically boost all-electric range to around 430 miles, more than three times the range of its eGolf.
Volkswagen Germany spokesman Peter Thul declined to comment on any of the company’s investments, while reps from QuantumScape failed to return any emails or messages.