Friday, September 25, 2020

Volkswagen and Bill Gates Backed Battery Company Coming Public via SPAC

Here's Reuters, September 15:

VW-backed battery maker QuantumScape to go public at $3.3 billion valuation
QuantumScape, the 10-year-old Silicon Valley battery startup backed by Volkswagen AG, said on Thursday it plans to go public through a reverse merger with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp with an enterprise value of $3.3 billion.

San Jose-based QuantumScape, a 2010 spinout from Stanford University, said it will form a joint venture with VW to produce solid-state battery cells, starting in 2024, for the German automaker’s electric vehicles, and eventually for other carmakers.

“Our ambition is to be a (battery) supplier to the industry as a whole,” QuantumScape founder and Chief Executive Jagdeep Singh said in an interview.

QuantumScape is the latest transportation startup to tie up with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Recent SPAC-backed transactions include Lidar maker Luminar, electric truck maker Nikola, electric shuttle maker Canoo and electric car maker Fisker....

And a warning from InvestorPlace, September 25:

Kensington Capital Stock Looks Risky at This Point 
New, highly promising technologies often fail to pan out 
The fate of past, very promising technologies makes me wary of investing in Kensington Capital (NYSE:KCAC) at this point. The relatively high valuation of Kensington Capital stock and the recent tech sell-off also gives me pause.

For the uninitiated, those who buy Kensington Capital will eventually own the shares of battery development start-up QuantumScape.

A developer of a new type of batteries for electric vehicles, QuantumScape is currently privately held and is expected to have an enterprise valuation of $3.3 billion when it goes public later this year.
Among the investors in QuantumScape are Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY), which has agreed to put over $300 million into the company; Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) founder Bill Gates; and the Qatar Investment Authority. Those are very impressive names.

According to QuantumScape, its solid-state batteries can reach 80% of capacity in 15 minutes. The company added that its batteries, which it does not expect to reach the market until 2024, are also safer than the current batteries used by EVs.

Up-and-Coming Technologies Have Disappointed in the Past
In 2013, I heard a lecture by an investment adviser. During his presentation, I remember he mentioned graphene, which is essentially tightly bound carbon. The material is extremely thin and powerful and it’s a great conductor of electricity. I kept an eye on a couple of graphene stocks for a short time; needless to say, graphene did not become very widely used, and all the graphene stocks I can find now trade well below $1....
Previously on Mr. Gates and batteries:
April 2015
Gates, Pritzkers vs. Musk: "The $5 Billion Race to Build a Better Battery" (TSLA)
October 2015 
Bill Gates: ‘We Need an Energy Miracle’

Here are a couple posts at Mr. G's blog, Gates Notes:
July 29, 2015
We Need Clean-Energy Innovation, and Lots of It
June 25, 2014
We Need Energy Miracles
We have posted quite a bit on Mr. Gates' thinking:

Energy: "The man who’s tutoring Bill Gates … " 
Bill Gates On Energy
Bill Gates On Innovation
Follow-up--Q&A With Bill Gates: Robots, Uber and the Role of Government 
Vaclav Smil On Energy: "Revolution? More like a crawl"
"Bill Gates’ Children Mock Him With ‘Billionaire’ Song"

And more generally:
Batteries: The Venture Capitalist's Holy Grail
Metamaterials May be the Next Big Thing: Gates, Allen Bet On Echodyne
The Dream of Next-Gen Batteries All Hangs On an Apple Watch
The most intractable problem in tech. As is also true in the fusion energy biz "We're just ten years away from a breakthrough"
For the last fifty years.

"Boston-Power Aims to Rival Tesla With Gigawatt Battery Factories" (TSLA)
Short Seller Muddy Waters Goes Long a Battery and Electric Vehicle Play
A123 IPO Roundup (AONE)
Batteries: A123 Stock Hits New All-time Low (AONE)
The Future of Batteries (2009)
Technology Review: "A Guide to Recent Battery Advances" (2010)
"A Quantum Leap in Battery Design" 10 Times the Energy Density of Lithium-ion
In search of the perfect battery (JCI) (2008)
Besides Using All the Lithium In the World, "Will Tesla’s $5 Billion Gigafactory Make a Battery No-One Else Wants?" (TSLA)
The status quo of electric cars: better batteries, same range

Electric Vehicles: Same Range as 1908, Wheee!
Stimulus Big Winner: Battery Manufacturing
Researchers predict 'nanobattery' performance
"A Contrarian's Take On Goldman's Advanced Battery Report" (AONE; ENS; HEV)
"A Nation Sized Battery"

And hundreds more