Volkswagen-backed EV Battery Maker QuantumScape to go Public at $3.3 Billion Valuation

Volkswagen-backed EV Battery Maker QuantumScape to go Public at $3.3 Billion Valuation

Author: Eric Walz   

Silicon Valley-based battery maker QuantumScape will become the latest company tuning to Wall Street to raise capital this year in a reverse merger deal with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp.(NYSE: KCAC), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). 

The deal will result in QuantumScape becoming a publicly listed company with an enterprise value of $3.3 billion. 

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named QuantumScape and is expected to remain listed on the NYSE and trade under the new ticker symbol "QS". 

QuantumScape's deal with Kensington Capital follows other high-profile reverse mergers this summer, including hydrogen fuel cell truck startup Nikola Motor Company, electric truck maker Lordstown Motors and lidar manufacturer Velodyne. All of which become public companies through reverse merger deals with SPACs.

QuantumScape was founded in 2010 and is exclusively focused on developing solid-state batteries along with designing a scalable manufacturing process for the commercialization of its battery technology for the automotive industry. 

The San Jose, CA battery maker is backed by German automaker Volkswagen and billionaire Microsoft Corporation co-founder Bill Gates. The company holds over 200 patents and patent applications related to solid-state battery technology. 

QuantumScape intends for the proceeds of the transaction will fund the company through the start of production via its joint venture with Volkswagen. 

Solid-state batteries promise improved safety and faster charging times for EVs compared to the lithium-ion batteries currently in use. This battery technology has further advantages over the present lithium-ion technology, including higher energy density and much faster charging times.

Although solid state batteries show promise to increase the range of EVs, advances have been difficult for engineers to achieve and developments have been slow, but have shown promise. Volkswagen said it successfully tested QuantumScape's early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany. The cells achieved sufficient rates of power for automotive use.

"QuantumScape's solid-state anode-less design represents the most elegant architecture I've seen for a lithium-based battery system, and the company has an opportunity to redefine the battery landscape," said Former Tesla Chief Technology Officer and current QuantumScape board member JB Straubel.

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Solid-state EV batteries are much more energy dense than the lithium-Ion design currently in use. (PHOTO: QuantumScape)

Volkswagen has worked with QuantumScape since 2012 on battery cell development with the goal of establishing a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025. The automaker already invested $300 million in the startup with two prior investments.

In June 2018, VW announced a $100 million investment in QuantumScape, becoming its largest automotive shareholder at the time. A year later in June 2019, Volkswagen announced it was increasing its stake in QuantumScape with an additional investment of up to $200 million

"Today marks an important milestone of advancing QuantumScape's effort in developing the next generation of solid-state batteries to meet the needs of all future electric vehicles as the world transitions to zero emissions. Ten years ago, we embarked upon an ambitious goal that most thought was impossible. Through the tireless work of QuantumScape's more than 200 scientists and engineers, and our partnership with Volkswagen since 2012, we have developed a new battery technology that is unlike anything else in the world," said Jagdeep Singh, Founder and CEO of QuantumScape.

Volkswagen will need plenty of batteries for the hundreds of thousands of new electric vehicles its intends to produce, which is evident by its $300 million investment in QuantumScape. The company's solid-state battery cell technology is seen as one of the most promising technologies for building longer range and faster charging EVs.

Volkswagen has already begun to expand its U.S. factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee to become its North American center for electric vehicles. As part of the expansion, the automaker is building a new Engineering and Planning Center (EPC) in Chattanooga to test its EV batteries and also for engineering the EVs of the future, the automaker said.

The automaker is also building a state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory designed to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs for upcoming models assembled in the U.S.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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