Race to charge ahead with new batteries

Govts, carmakers, start-ups seek breakthroughs to make cheaper, reliable batteries for electric cars

The laboratory at QuantumScape, a Silicon Valley start-up whose investors include carmaker Volkswagen and Mr Bill Gates. The company is working on a technology that could make car batteries cheaper, more reliable and quicker to recharge. Stock market
The laboratory at QuantumScape, a Silicon Valley start-up whose investors include carmaker Volkswagen and Mr Bill Gates. The company is working on a technology that could make car batteries cheaper, more reliable and quicker to recharge. Stock market investors consider the company to be more valuable than French carmaker Renault.PHOTO: NYTIMES
Cars charging in Norway. The European Union is subsidising battery production to avoid dependence on Asian suppliers.
Cars charging in Norway. The European Union is subsidising battery production to avoid dependence on Asian suppliers.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • As automakers like General Motors (GM), Volkswagen and Ford Motor make bold promises about transitioning to an electrified, emission-free future, one thing is becoming obvious: They will need a lot of batteries.

Demand for this indispensable component already outstrips supply, prompting a global rush that has investors, established companies and start-ups racing to develop the technology and build the factories needed to churn out millions of electric cars.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2021, with the headline 'Race to charge ahead with new batteries'. Subscribe