What happened

Shares of QuantumScape (QS -0.48%) took it on the chin again in January, falling another 24.8% for the month, according to data by S&P Global Market Intelligence. It follows a 23% crash in December, meaning the solid state battery maker has lost more than three quarters of its value from its November 2021 high.

The passage of the infrastructure bill promoted by President Joe Biden had sent QuantumScape's shares soaring as $10.3 billion in the massive $1 trillion plan was specifically targeted toward electric car grid and battery-related investments. Overall, the EV industry would be lavished with nearly $31 billion in new government spending.

The euphoria that originally greeted EVs, however, has since waned and shares of EV makers and related companies, including QuantumScape, have tumbled.

Electric car hooked up to charging station.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

QuantumScape could have a leading position in the solid-state battery market because of its revolutionary technology that promises to allow safer fast charging of lithium-ion batteries. It claims -- and the data has apparently been backed up by numerous independent testing labs and several automakers -- its batteries can charge to 80% capacity in just 15 minutes, and do so without risk of creating a fire hazard.

Regular household EV hookups can charge a battery in eight to 10 hours, though homeowners can have a charging station installed (at considerable expense) to complete the task in four to six hours. Corporate EV fleets, however, can fully charge in just over an hour, though quick charge stations can get it done in a half hour. 

If QuantumScape's solid-state batteries can be commercialized to the point where 15-minute recharging is brought within reach of everyone, it could completely disrupt the electric car industry.

Now what

As revolutionary as QuantumScape's technology is, the company is not alone in pursuing this goal. Solid Power, for example, is backed by Ford Motor Company and BMW, and is said to be closer to mass production than QuantumScape because it is able to use existing manufacturing equipment rather than needing to build out its own network as QuantumScape is doing. Toyota is also in the solid-state battery market.

QuantumScape is backed by a $300 million investment from Volkswagen, but its recent partnership with Fluence Energy for stationary power applications means the battery maker is expanding its total addressable market beyond the $300 billion car battery ecosystem.