German automotive manufacturer Volkswagen has announced the successful test of an advanced "solid-state" electric vehicle battery that barely degrades. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)


Sparks of excitement at VW’s new ‘solid-state’ EV battery


German manufacturer Volkswagen has announced the successful test of an advanced “solid-state” electric vehicle battery that barely degrades.

Developed by US start-up QuantumScape, which is backed both by VW and US billionaire Bill Gates, the battery is said to represent a leap in performance compared to current liquid lithium-ion batteries.

It is hoped this will translate into electric vehicles (EVs) capable of longer single-charge ranges, with the batteries themselves likely to be far more robust than their liquid predecessors, according to those involved.

In a press release by the German vehicle maker, the new battery was said to have passed crucial long-term-use tests “with flying colours”.

As part of that, the battery underwent a minimum of 700 charging cycles, after which it had to be able to charge to at least 80 per cent of its original capacity.

According to the VW Group, the solid-state battery lasted well over 1,000 cycles during testing at a facility owned by PowerCo – a VW subsidiary – after which it could reportedly charge to 95 per cent of its original capacity.

“These are very encouraging results that impressively underpin the potential of the solid-state cell,” said Frank Blome, the CEO of PowerCo.

“The final result of this development could be a battery cell that enables long ranges, can be charged super-quickly and practically does not age.

“We are convinced of the solid-state cell and are continuing to work at full speed with our partner QuantumScape towards series production.”

VW is now looking to put the battery into production, saying the next step is to “perfect and scale” the manufacturing process.

The announcement prompted excitement among automotive enthusiasts who see the new battery technology as a possible panacea to some of the main disadvantages of current EVs.

Wall Street appeared to be just as upbeat at the announcement; QuantumScape saw its stock price surge 40 per cent on January 4 in the wake of the test results announcement.

Other traders have expressed more scepticism, both about the long-term feasibility of QuantumScape’s technology and the company itself.

David Moadel of financial advice firm The Motley Fool said: “QuantumScape has been terrific for short-term traders but frustrating for long-term investors,” noting that the stock was still down from its last high of $13 in 2023.

“QuantumScape stock could just as easily be a 10-bagger or a literal penny-stock in a decade,” he added, arguing that the next few years would likely be “make or break” for the company.