Bill Gates-Backed EV Battery Maker QuantumScape Says Considering Third-Party Tests To Placate Investors

QuantumScape Corp QS, a solid-state battery maker for electric vehicles, is considering third-party lab tests for its cells later this year, founder and CEO Jagdeep Singh said on Monday.

What Happened: The Bill Gates and Volkswagen AG VWAGY-backed EV battery startup’s deviation from practice comes amid pressure from investors and follows activist firm Scorpion Capital’s scathing 188-pages report in April that referred to the company as a “scam.”

Singh believes the third-party lab tests are more credible when done by an end-user, say an automotive OEM, as the credibility bar is higher but he’s now open to getting an outsider view to soothe the investors' nerves.

The QuantumScape CEO said that "if it helps investors feel better about their investment" with a third party result, the company at some point this year will consider making itself available to third-party lab tests.

Singh noted that the process takes a long time and even if the company was to begin today, results of such tests wouldn't be available until summer.

The executive added that results from such tests, expected to come this year, will likely to be consistent with the company's internal tests.

See Also: QuantumScape Looks To Break Out. What's Next?

Scorpion has a short position on QuantumScape, implying it is betting on the company’s stock price to decline.

Volkswagen had in April cleared the buzzy battery maker’s technical milestones that were conducted in Germany and said it would be receiving and testing subsequent generations of cells to get solid-state technology into series production. 

QuantumScape claims some other leading automakers have tested the cells successfully as well but those results aren’t published by those companies due to their proprietary nature.

Why It Matters: The San Jose, California-based company has been claiming its battery will increase the electric vehicle range by as much as 50% and reduce the charging time to less than 15 minutes, a leap in performance over current lithium-ion technology.

The startup however has been secretive about its technology in order to maintain a first-mover advantage allowing short-sellers to poke holes in the company’s claims.

Ford Motor Co F has invested in privately-held Colorado-based solid-state battery maker Solid Power, which has set a target to commercialize its batteries in 2026. QuantumScape aims to start supplying batteries by 2024 as per its annual report.

Price Action: QuantumScape shares closed 6% higher at $30.33 on Monday and were further up 1% in after hours. Shares of the company, which went public late last year, have plunged 64% YTD.

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Photo Courtesy: QuantumScape

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