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QuantumScape Posts Loss, Shows Progress in Battery Development

By Lou Whiteman - Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 10:06AM

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The company is moving forward with a "pre-pilot" production facility.

QuantumScape (QS 5.67%) reported a loss of $694.7 million in its first quarter as a public company, but investors were more focused on its progress toward commercializing its solid-state battery and a high-profile investor who bought in.

The company went public late last year through a deal with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. It saw its shares soar more than 400% in its first few weeks of trading before settling somewhat. Its results are a reminder of the potential of its technology and the fact that QuantumScape is an early-stage company.

The quarterly loss included one-time expenses related to going public. Investors reacted positively to the announcement on Tuesday, sending shares up more than 10% in pre-market trading.

Automotive engineers discussing a vehicle design.

Image source: Getty Images.

QuantumScape is trying to commercialize a solid-state battery, which in theory would offer better storage capacity, quicker charging, and more stability compared to the current generation of batteries used by EVs today.

In a letter to investors, the company said it has reached a milestone in the battery's development, producing multilayer battery cells for the first time.

"While there is still a lot of work to be done and we could encounter new challenges as we increase our layer count, this is an incredibly important result, and we are excited to have this so early in the year," CEO Jagdeep Singh wrote.

There has been enough progress made that QuantumScape is building a "pre-pilot" production facility to build engineering cell samples. One of the big criticisms of solid-state batteries is the complexity, and expense, of manufacturing them at scale. The new facility could go a long way toward determining whether QuantumScape has a viable solution to that problem.

The potential has apparently caught the eye of billionaire investor George Soros. His firm, Soros Fund Management, disclosed a $280 million stake in QuantumScape as part of its regulatory quarterly update.

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