CEO and founder of QuantumScape, Jagdeep Singh, offers hope for low-cost, longer-lasting electric cars
Shareholders of QuantumScape, a US-based company, that researches solid state lithium metal batteries for electric cars, recently approved an agreement by which its chief executive officer and founder, Jagdeep Singh could receive stock options amounting to $2.3 billion.
QuantumScape CEO Jagdeep Singh, who founded the company in 2010 with fellow Stanford scientists Fritz Prinz and Tim Holme, believes the day is not far when the market for electric batteries in vehicles will rise dramatically from the current 2%, as people opt overwhelmingly for Electric Vehicles (EV) over the fuel guzzling ones.
Jagdeep Singh was born in India but left the country when he was only 4 years old. His father was associated with the World Health Organisation, so he travelled to various parts of the world – Africa, the Caribbeans and finally settled down in the Washington D.C. area. He studied Computer Science at the University of Maryland, from where he graduated at the age of 19.
Mr. Singh also did an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University. What started off as a classroom discussion with his professor and classmates at Stanford, became the basis of his trailblazing research company.
Huge pay packages like these are becoming increasingly common among rapidly growing startups, and the one that comes to mind immediately is the package given to Tesla’s Elon Musk in 2018 that made him the richest person in the world.
QuantumScape, backed by Volkswagen AG and Bill Gates’ venture fund, shot up to a valuation of almost $50 billion in December 2020 on the potentiality of its pioneering technology, which has the capacity to offer people the choice of EVs as an alternative to Combustion Vehicles.
The company has its headquarters in San Jose, California and employs around 400 people. It hopes to begin mass production of solid-state batteries in the second half of 2024. A solid-state battery is a battery technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.
Jagdeep believes that a change in vehicle-preference is just round the corner even though the cost of an EV at present is at least $10,000 more than a regular car. His company promises to offer five key requirements to make EVs more advantageous with his solid-state batteries:
- Greater energy density for longer range
- Faster charge times (80% charge in 15 minutes)
- Safer operations
- Lower battery costs
- Longer battery life
All this is being done by making one key change to existing battery technology – replacing the carbon anode with lithium metal anode which is in turn enabled by solid state electrolyte. This seminal work is going to tick off all five requirements in one go. Jagdeep Singh’s QuantumScape hopes to make a dent in the Electric Vehicle industry, lower CO2 emissions and most importantly, offer a way to slow down climate change.