QuantumScape Q2 2022 Report: Soon To Deliver 24-layer A sample

Highlights :

  • QuantumScape Q2 2022 report reveals a 24-layer cell, eight more than earlier, along with some other updates
  • Soon to deliver a 24-layer Sample A to an automotive customer

QuantumScape (QS), the firm with the highest hopes riding on its solid state battery tech has released its second quarterly (Q2) 2022 report, updating the public on its progress in scaling affordable, energy dense cells for future EVs.

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The battery manufacturer has been in the business for the past decade. Yet, the firm has only got momentum recently as it announced in 2020 that it reached a “major breakthrough” by utilizing a ceramic separator, leading to successful testing of single-layer prototype cells. Since then, the firm swiftly has doubled its initial pilot manufacturing line, following which it soon developed 10-layer cells, further adding a 16-layer prototype earlier this year.

Now, the firm revealed a 24-layer cell, eight more than earlier, along with some other updates.

Harbinger of a New Start

As per QuantumScape Q2 2022 report, the company explains a new design format of the cell stating, “The 24-layer prototype cells we’ve made were packaged in a variety of formats, including early variants of the proprietary format we are developing, designed to accommodate the expansion and contraction characteristic of lithium-metal batteries during charge and discharge (resulting from plating and stripping of lithium metal). As part of our development work, we have built and tested many cells of varying layer counts in this new format, including some that have achieved over 600 cycles and are still cycling.”

The nomenclature of the prototype only indicates the beginning of a three-step journey toward automotive qualification and eventual production. The new 24-layer prototype carries a name – ‘Sample A’ cells. Each major sampling stage – A, B, and C – will consist of several generations of maturing cell prototypes to be delivered to OEMs for testing and validation. Consequently, as Sample A deliveries begin this year, QuantumScape expects about 18 months gap before it can deliver Sample B cells. This stage will be carried out using low-volume production processes. While several factors within QS and its OEM customers will likely influence the schedule, a similar period may be there between Sample B and Sample C prototype cells as well.

Improvement in Quality

QuantumScape also reported a higher uniformity than its current baseline process with further improvement to its separator manufacturing process. Notably, the existing process has already delivered industry-leading performance, clocking 800 cycles under gold-standard testing conditions and 15-minute fast charging at 25 °C.

The company has also developed a second-generation catholyte (an ion conductor in the cathode of QuantumScape’s cells), incorporated into its baseline process. Expectedly, this would offer better low-pressure performance, improved low-temperature behaviour, better high-rate support, and improved cell reliability compared to its first generation. The 2nd gen catholyte will soon include these improvements to the separator manufacturing process as well.

Widening Customers Base

The company has also shared an update on its ever-expanding manufacturing processes for solid-state cells. QuantumScape largely focused on improving the quality and consistency of separator production during Phase 1. In phase 2, its focus revolves around the cells. The company states,

“As part of bringing Phase 2 online, this quarter we took delivery and completed qualification of several key tools. Notably, we have completed site acceptance testing on our first-generation automatic cell stacker, which automates the first step of the cell build process. This new tool is designed to improve throughput; a step that previously took more than five minutes can now be accomplished in approximately 30 seconds. Consistency is another benefit of automation; a properly configured and maintained piece of automated equipment can perform the same operation repeatedly with low variation from run to run, which can improve cell quality.”

Peaking over 5,000 weekly separator film starts this quarter, the firm eyes toward achieving 8,000 weekly starts before year’s end.

QS has been working closely with one of its major investors, Volkswagen Group. It also indicated two additional sampling agreements with OEMs in the automotive space, identities of whom QS has not revealed yet. They are two of those six potential customers which are among “the global top-10 manufacturers by revenue to premium performance and luxury automakers, encompassing both pure EV and conventional OEMs.”

Optimistic on Growth

Before QuantumScape Q2 2022 report, the firm shared data showcasing the development of its solid-state batteries, in February 2022. QS, then, reported the development of its solid-state batteries. Reportedly, the cells completed 400 consecutive 15-minute fast-charge cycles as they showed replenishment from 10% to 80% capacity while still retaining over 80% of the initial energy. This, the firm noted, would bring down EV charge times within several minutes of gas station fill-ups.

Interestingly, this development comes at a time when the firm suffered declines in its shares in recent months. It lost around 47 per cent in value till May 2022. Yet, the firm remains optimistic as QuantumScape told the investors that it was on track with its technology development.

The solid-state battery manufacturer continues to accommodate more and more layers in its solid-state cell technology, while simultaneously preparing for scaled assembly for a growing list of OEMs. With its new upgrades, QS now eyes for the next phase. QuantumScape will deliver a 24-layer Sample A to an automotive customer soon this year.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.

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