If True, QuantumScape Has Made the Biggest Leap in Batteries Since the Debut of Lithium-Ion

But most battery researchers don’t believe it

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

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QuantumScape’s breakthrough separator. Photo courtesy of QuantumScape

On its first day of trading in November, shares of QuantumScape, a lithium-metal battery startup, surged by 57% in price. Then 10 days later, the price doubled, and less than two weeks after that, it was up another 72% — a total 5.7-fold increase in less than a month. The price has since plunged back to earth — sort of. As of the close of trading yesterday, it was up a mere 80% since its debut two months ago.

But the stock’s dramatic rise has its logic if you understand that QuantumScape is at the center of a whirlwind in lithium-ion battery technology. For four-and-a-half decades, ever since the invention of the first, primitive lithium storage device at Exxon, researchers have sought but failed to achieve what the oil company couldn’t: to make a battery powered by pure-lithium, the lightest metal on the periodic table. If they could, they would unlock immense power for electric vehicles — much more than the plain-Jane lithium-ion battery. But no one could navigate the stubborn metal.

The scourge was a sort of cancer — a nightmarish growth that tends to bloom from pure lithium metal while the battery is in use and trigger the device’s death. The dreaded growth is…

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Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.