QuantumScape (NYSE:QS) stock may very well start soaring on the development of solid-state batteries and the company’s underlying innovation.
Electric vehicles are the future. A commonly repeated mantra, it’s become such a meme that expressing a contrarian argument is sure to generate heat.
However, some components of EVs are challenging, enough so that they still remain the playthings of the rich. But that could change thanks to QuantumScape.
Indeed, shortly after the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) tasked with taking QuantumScape public disclosed its merger intentions, QS stock — which automotive giant Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) backs — veritably skyrocketed.
At its peak in late December of last year, QS closed just several cents shy of the $132 mark. While that might seem a ludicrous premium today, some justification for the froth existed.
Modern battery plug-in EVs have an average range of 181 miles per full charge. While that might sound terrible from the perspective of a combustion-powered car, it’s actually not bad for urban dwellers. Considering that the average commute length is 15-miles one way, worker bees could theoretically do all their commuting during the weekday and charge up during the weekend.
Sounds so simple, right? Well, the problem is that EV applicability on paper doesn’t match up to data extracted from the field. That’s according to a 2020 article from automotive magazine Car and Driver, which had a glaring subhead: No EV under its real-world tests met or exceeded its advertised range rating.
More critically, some of the discrepancies between actual range and advertised range are not insignificant. For instance, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt saw almost a quarter drop under the car magazine’s highway tests. To be fair, the publication mentioned that these tests were taken under temperatures just above freezing.
But this adds another problem: the environment can negatively affect range.
Why QS Stock Got a Credibility Boost
Granted, EV proponents have data supporting another conclusion, that outside temps don’t really affect range that much. I get it. I’m just going with what Car and Driver stated. Still, it should be pointed out that regarding range, it may not matter what the facts are but rather consumer perceptions.
Facts are moot if the consumer is too scared to open their wallet, but that also potentially brings positive prospects for QS stock.
For EVs to achieve mainstream integration, their average range must increase. Since everyone has different vehicular needs, it’s imprudent for automakers to aim for the lowest acceptable benchmark.
As well, since not everyone has access to personal charging mechanisms, next-generation batteries must be resilient enough to handle frequent charging/discharging.
Several days ago, QuantumScape released information that could possibly signal a coming paradigm shift in solid-state technologies.
Verified through an independent third-party laboratory, QuantumScape’s single-layer lithium-metal battery cells underwent several tests under the following conditions: “over 800 cycles at 25 °C, 1C (one hour) charge/discharge rates, 100% depth of discharge and under 3.4 atmospheres of pressure.”
According to management, the successful test is “roughly equivalent to 240,000 miles driven for a 300-mile range vehicle and demonstrates the battery technology’s ability to perform over a vehicle’s expected lifetime.”
Also, the charge/discharge testing indicates that “the battery can operate at continuously high charge and discharge rates with minimal degradation (with energy retention maintained at more than 80%) over a long period (800 cycles in this case).”
Therefore, not only do drivers get the range they’re looking for, but also they can hit up their local fast-charging stations frequently without fear of long-term damage. Theoretically, this should dramatically ease the transition to EVs because QuantumScape’s battery tech narrows the convenience gap between EVs and combustion cars.
Not Without Risks
Now, I want to be careful: the independent lab tests don’t mean that you should buy QS stock without performing due diligence. Indeed, that’s all they were, lab tests. There’s a reason why manufacturers (and investors for that matter) prefer real-world tests.
Further, solid-state battery tech isn’t going to mean much if the road to commercialization ends up being prohibitively expensive. Remember, the ultimate goal undergirding QS stock is the mainstream integration of EVs. That’s not going to happen if the powerplant ends up pricing out average-income households.
Still, as a speculation play, QS stock is starting to look very attractive thanks to putting down some hard numbers to the thesis. Maybe it’s not yet $100’s worth of attractiveness but at just under $32, there’s probably more upside awaiting you.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.