A startup QuantumScape is one of the companies that want to stand out in the development of batteries for cars. Based in California, the company recently announced that it has hired a former Tesla employee to make its product more scalable, according to information from the Business Insider website.
Long considered one of the least interesting automotive components, the battery may now be one of the most electrifying parts in the auto industry. Car manufacturing has basically not changed in 50 years and is unprofitable, but the battery industry is ripe for innovation.
The contracted engineer, Celina Mikolaczak, worked at Elon Musk’s company at the time of the Model S launch, has stints at Uber and has also worked at Panasonic as vice president of battery technologies.
“I think of it as playing a symphony. Everyone has to contribute their share so that, when the ensemble is formed, everything works correctly. It’s something difficult and much underestimated. To support the volume of cells that a car needs, you have to manufacture millions of them in a single day,” Celina told the portal.
The company is not necessarily a newcomer to the business. Founded in 2010 and with about 200 employees, its differential is the manufacture of solid-state batteries, which may have advantages over lithium-ion batteries, which are more popular in the sector. Greater durability and less risk of catching fire are some of the main ones.
Investors such as Bill Gates and Volkswagen are among those who have looked favorably on the company for some time. In 2020, the company made a SPAC with Kensington Capital Acquisition to go public in the last quarter of the year and, as a result, will receive US$ 1 billion in financing from sources such as Volkswagen itself (with whom it works since 2012) and of the Qatar Investment Authority.
Translating plans into reality is a key issue for QuantumScape. The company has been accused by private equity firm Scorpion Capital of having artificially inflated its share price and says it’s a “scheme created by Silicon Valley celebrities that would make the Theranos scam look amateurish.”
The report also cites testimony from former employees, who say the company is unable to deliver commercially what it promises. The statement contradicts what the CEO of the company, Jagdeep Singh said recently.
The fact is that QuantumScape is far from being the only company looking for improvements to get ahead in the race for electric cars. Israeli startup StoreDot, for example, already promises to recharge vehicles in up to five minutes. “You will no longer be afraid of standing on the road without power,” he told AFP at the headquarters of the company he created in 2012, dedicating its first batteries to phones, drones and scooters.