CEO of Bill Gates-backed EV battery startup expects major breakthrough in 2021

QuantumScape (QS) founder and CEO Jagdeep Singh expects some electrified developments later this year from his battery startup.

"Later this year, we hope to have an eight- to 10-layer cell and then we'll deliver sample cells," Singh told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday.

It was just last week that QuantumScape — which is trying to pioneer solid-state lithium batteries for electric vehicles — said it could produce multilayer battery cells. The news was seen as a key technical breakthrough for QuantumScape, which needs to develop a lithium battery with at least a dozen or so layers to make them commercially viable. QuantumScape's stock soared following the announcement.

"The eight- to 10-layer cell will happen by year end. We don't want to set expectations too high," Singh said. "We have been fortunate so far that the goals we have set, we have been able to meet. The single layer cell announcement, this multilayer announcement, is ahead of what anybody was expecting. The eight- to 10-layer cell we are targeting by year end. If we make that year end milestone, we are on track to delivering cells to customers in 2022."


QuantumScape shares were 5% higher in Thursday trading after Singh revealed the more specific development timeline.

The CEO of QuantumScape speaks to Yahoo Finance.
The CEO of QuantumScape speaks to Yahoo Finance.

QuantumScape was founded in 2010 by Singh and backed early by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and auto giant Volkswagen. The company made its market debut on Nov. 27, 2020 after it merged with blank-check company Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp.

In early December 2020, Singh publicly revealed test results for QuantumScape’s solid state battery. QuantumScape’s data showed its battery cell could charge to 80% of capacity in 15 minutes. Further, it retains more than 80% of its capacity after 800 charging cycles, is non-combustable, and boasts nearly double the energy density of high-end commercial lithium batteries.

The series of early wins for QuantumScape — which is in its pre-revenue stage — has coincided with shares surging 165% since its market debut. Meanwhile, the EV industry is heating up, with EV maker Lucid Motors confirming Monday its own plans to go public.

"QuantumScape is a pure play on next generation battery technology with breakthroughs in the EV battery front that could change the industry down the road given the innovation behind solid state batteries. The company has shown its battery cell can charge up to 80% of capacity in 15 minutes, which would be a 'game changer' if this scales at mass volumes," says Wedbush tech analyst Dan Ives.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Find the latest in business and finance news here.

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