Volkswagen has a big decision to make, as the automaker has set out to decide whether the battery technology under development at U.S. startup QuantScape Corp. is ready for use in its upcoming electric vehicles.
Volkswagen Auto Group CEO, Martin Winterkorn, told Bloomberg that the technology has the potential to exponentially boost battery range and that tests are progressing. The yet-unseen technology may be able to expand battery capacity so much so that an EV could drive 430 miles on a single charge, according to the the automaker’s chief. If that’s possible and realistic, that could mean future electric cars from the automaker could drive up to 160 miles further than the current EV range-leader, the Tesla model S, which has an electric range of 270 miles.
But how exactly do VW and QuantScape plan to Elon Musk and his mystical EV tech? As you may have guessed, it all comes down to the batteries. Founded in 2010, QuantScape is working on a solid-state battery as an alternative to the liquid electrolyte tech currently found in the widely-popular lithium-ion battery. A solid-state battery could potentially hold more charge and provide more power to further extend the range of an EV.
If the solid state battery works anything like what’s being described, VW will be in a prime spot to proliferate the technology throughout its lineup. But here’s the icing on the cake: VW already owns 5 percent of QuantScape and has options to raise its stake ever further. So be warned: big changes in the EV market could be afoot in the not-too-distant future.