Although electric vehicles capture most of the headlines, the real science underlining this innovation is the battery. The biggest push right now in this sector is the development of the solid-state battery. That’s where Kensington Capital Acquisition (NYSE:KCAC) comes into play. Management claims to have discovered the breakthrough to take EVs to the next level, boosting interest in Kensington Capital stock.
If so, Kensington, which plans to initiate a reverse merger with QuantumScape via the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) process, would be an almost miraculous organization. Essentially, the solid-state battery is the holy grail of the EV battery developmental competition. Many automakers are throwing everything they have at this technology.
To understand why KCAC has this tremendous upside potential, it’s worth considering the difference between today’s lithium-ion battery and the (hopefully) upcoming solid-state variety. For that, Techcrunch contributor Kirsten Korosec does an excellent job succinctly explaining the distinct factors:
Electric vehicles on the road today are equipped with lithium-ion batteries. A battery contains two electrodes. There’s an anode (negative) on one side and a cathode (positive) on the other. An electrolyte sits in the middle and acts as the courier that moves ions between the electrodes when charging and discharging. Solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte and not a liquid or gel-based electrolyte found in lithium-ion batteries.
Developers claim that solid electrolytes have greater energy density, which translates into squeezing more range out of a smaller and lighter battery. Solid electrolytes also are supposed to be better at thermal management, reducing the risk of fire and the reliance on the kinds of cooling systems found in today’s EVs.
Put another way, solid-state batteries fulfill the two Ps in PPP, which are physical spacing and performance. As Korosec explains, with the greater energy density of this new battery tech, automakers can have more design and capacity freedom. In addition, the greater range and faster charging capabilities finally makes EVs more realistic as a road to mainstream integration.
But the last, price, is where separate merely great companies from unicorns. This brings up a question: Is Kensington Capital stock a unicorn investment?
Arguably, before Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) came along, not too many folks appreciated Nikola Tesla the scientist. Today, you can’t hear enough about this reclusive genius and his ultimate goal of providing free energy for the world.
Although he never got to finish what would have been a paradigm-shattering invention, future generations of scientists were inspired by his work. In modern times, it’s reasonable to say that throughout much of the world, technology has achieved two-thirds of Tesla’s original vision: we have power and it is physically distributed (almost) everywhere in a convenient format.
But it’s not quite what Tesla had in mind. You see, he wanted free (accessible) energy for everyone to enjoy. The last time I checked my utility bill, it wasn’t free (nor was it cheap).
And that’s the irony behind Tesla the company’s EVs. On the surface, they feature the convenient physical dimensions of a regular car with overall performance metrics (i.e. acceleration, range, charging time, etc.) that are roughly on par with combustion-engine cars. But the problem here too is price.