QuantumScape, the 10-year Silicon Valley battery startup backed by Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), said on Thursday that it plans to go public through a reverse merger with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp with a business value of $ 3.3 billion.
QuantumScape, based in San Jose and created in 2010 by Stanford University, said it will form a joint venture with VW to produce solid-state battery cells, starting in 2024, for VW electric vehicles and, eventually, for other automakers.
“Our ambition is to be a (battery) supplier to the industry as a whole,” said QuantumScape founder and CEO, Jagdeep Singh, in an interview.
QuantumScape is the latest transport startup to partner with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Among the recent transactions supported by SPAC: the manufacturer of Lidar Luminar, the maker of electric trucks Nikola, the maker of electric buses Canoo and the maker of electric cars Fisker.
VW has committed more than $ 300 million to QuantumScape.
Investors include Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.
The SPAC deal is expected to close in late 2020, when the new company will be traded on the NYSE under the symbol QS.
Singh said QuantumScape’s lithium metal battery uses a solid ceramic electrolyte, which he said is safer than using a conventional liquid electrolyte. It also eliminates the need for an anode, allowing the battery to charge faster – up to 80% capacity in just 15 minutes. In addition, its energy density is much higher, exceeding 400 watt-hours per kilogram, which far exceeds 250 Wh / kg for today’s best lithium-ion batteries.
“The company has an opportunity to redefine the battery landscape,” said Tesla (TSLA.O) co-founder J.B. Straubel, CEO of Redwood Materials, a battery recycling startup in Silicon Valley.