24+ Layer Solid State Cells

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Solid-state battery maker Quantumscape has released its second quarterly report for 2022, updating the public on its progress in scaling affordable, energy-dense cells for future electric vehicles. The company continues to expand the number of layers possible in its solid-state cell technology, while simultaneously preparing for large-scale assembly for a growing list of OEMs. Here is the latest.

QuantumScape ($QS) ​​is a battery technology company founded in 2010 with the goal of developing efficient and scalable solid-state batteries that can (hopefully) achieve cost parity with traditional lithium-ion cells .

Although it’s been in the business for over a decade, the battery developer really started to gain momentum in 2020 when it announced it had achieved a “major breakthrough” using a ceramic separator. This led to the successful testing of single-layer prototype cells. After doubling the size of its initial pilot manufacturing line, Quantumscape revealed that it had also developed 10-layer cells, followed by a 16-layer prototype.

Last February, QuantumScape shared another industry first with a single-layer cell that completed 400 consecutive 15-minute fast-charge cycles, restoring 10% to 80% capacity while conserving over 80% of its energy. initial.

Now Quantumscape has revealed a 24-layer cell along with a host of other updates.

Test results showing early capacity retention behavior similar to Quantumscape’s one, four, 10 and 16 layer cells / Source: Quantumscape

Quantumscape’s new airframes mark the start of automotive travel

Quantumscape swayed out the door, announcing yet another layer to its development of solid-state battery cells…eight more to be precise.

According to the Q2 2022 report, Quantumscape has successfully developed prototype 24-layer cells, which are already undergoing testing. The new solid-state cell also represents a new design format. The company explains it best:

The 24-layer prototype cells we’ve made have been packaged in a variety of formats, including early variations of the proprietary format we’re developing, designed to match the expansion and contraction characteristics of lithium-metal batteries. during charging and discharging (resulting from plating and stripping lithium metal). As part of our development work, we have built and tested many cells of varying number of layers in this new format, some of which have reached over 600 cycles and are still in cycle.

These early 24-layer prototypes are labeled Sample A, representing the start of a three-step journey toward automotive qualification and eventual production. Each major sampling step (A, B and C) will consist of several generations of maturing cell prototypes that will be delivered to OEMs for testing and validation.

When A-sample deliveries begin this year, Quantumscape expects approximately 18 months to pass before we can deliver B-sample cells using low-volume production processes. The company says it expects a similar lead time between the B-sample and C-sample prototype cells, and a number of factors within QS as well as its OEM customers can certainly influence these targeted lead times.

Quality improvements and manufacturing scaling

In the report, Quantumscape touts a recent improvement in its separator manufacturing process – a change that results in greater consistency than its current core process, which has already delivered industry-leading performance results (800 cycles under reference test
and repeated rapid charge of 15 minutes at 25°C).

The company has also developed a second-generation catholyte, which is the cathode ion conductor of Quantumscape cells. It should offer better low-pressure performance, better low-temperature behavior, better high-throughput support, and better cell reliability than its first generation.

This quarter, QS integrated the second-generation catholyte into its core process, which will soon also include the aforementioned improvements to the separator manufacturing process. Speaking of the manufacturing process, Quantumscape continues to grow.

Source: Quantumscape

Quantumscape expands manufacturing and customers

Finally, QS shared an update on its ever-expanding manufacturing processes for semiconductor cells. During Phase 1, the company worked to improve the quality and consistency of separator production, but is now looking to apply this same engineering strategy to the cells themselves in Phase 2:

As part of the Phase 2 release this quarter, we have taken delivery and completed qualification of several key tools. In particular, we have completed site acceptance testing of our first-generation automatic cell stacker, which automates the first step in the cell building process. This new tool is designed to improve throughput; a step that previously took more than five minutes can now be completed in about 30 seconds. Consistency is another benefit of automation; Properly configured and maintained automated equipment can perform the same operation repeatedly with little cycle-to-cycle variation, which can improve cell quality.

Quantumscape peaked at over 5,000 weekly separator film launches this quarter, but still aims to reach 8,000 weekly launches before the end of the year.

Finally, QS shared that it was working closely with major investor Volkswagen Group, but announced two additional sampling deals with automotive OEMs. Out of respect for these companies, QS has not yet shared who they are, but is expected to do so in the future.

We know that the two additional OEMs bring Quantumscape’s total to six potential customers – all of which are “the top 10 global manufacturers by revenue for premium and luxury automakers, encompassing both pure electrical OEMs and conventional”.

Looking ahead, Quantumscape remains focused on delivering a 24-layer Sample A to an automotive customer this year. That’s all for now, until next term!

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