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Bill Gates Backed Battery Maker Goes Public In $3.3 Billion Deal

QuantumScape, a 10-year old battery company backed by Volkswagen Group, is looking to go public through a reverse-merger with SPAC Kensington Capital Corp.

The San-Jose California based battery company is looking to become an industry-wide supplier of electric vehicle batteries and has recently partnered with Volkswagen to produce so-called solid-state battery cells. 

Solid-state battery cells are seen as a potential game-changer for electric vehicles as they offer high performance and safety at a low cost.  Low flammability, higher electrochemical stability, higher potential cathodes, and higher energy density than conventional lithium-ion are crucial features in new-generation electric vehicle batteries.

QuantumScape’s prototype batteries use a solid ceramic electrolyte which the company sees a safer alternative to liquid electrolytes. The lithium-metal anode which replaces a graphite/silicon anode could reduce charging time. The company claims that the battery can be charged 80 percent in just 15 minutes. Next to reduced charging time, solid-state batteries also boast a higher energy density than its lithium-ion peers. Currently, the best lithium-ion batteries pack about 250Wh/kg, while solid-state batteries already exceed 400Wh/kg. Related: Goldman Expects Oil To Reach $65 Next Year

Back in June, the Volkswagen group announced an additional $200 million investment in the U.S. battery specialist in order to accelerate the development of solid-state batteries. The German automotive giant has already been collaborating with QuantumScape since 2012, and is the largest automotive shareholder. The QuantumScape-Volkswagen joint venture looks to start producing batteries somewhere in 2024. 

The electric vehicle space is increasingly popular with both retail and institutional investors, with Tesla (TSLA) and Nikola (NKLA) stealing the show.

And it’s not just Volkswagen, venture backers include Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and even The Qatar Investment Authority, the petro-nation's $320 billion sovereign wealth fund participated in the latest funding round.

The so-called SPAC deal with Kensington Corp. is expected to close at the end of 2020, and the new company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol QS.

By Tom Kool of Oilprice.com

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