Tesla exec named as one of its top executives

6
3 minutes

- Panasonic Corp. is appointing a key QuantumScape Corp. executive on its board, beefing up its crucial manufacturing expertise at the electric-vehicle battery company as it attempts to build its cells at scale.

Celina Mikolajczak, Vice President of Engineering and Battery Technology for Panasonic Energy of North America, is also the first woman to join its current 10 member board, which includes the venture capitalist J.B. Straubel and former Chief Technology Officer of Tesla Inc., J. Doerr.

QuantumScape is among a group of companies developing solid-state batteries, which could dramatically speed up EV adoption by providing automakers with a safer, cheaper alternative to current lithium-ion technology. After clearing a technical hurdle in February, Volkswagen AG is building a prototype line in California to make 200,000 square-foot cells for its partner Volkswagen AG and possibly other automakers.

We 're going to have her as a director; we 're going to have her looking at our tool decisions, process decisions, ” said QuantumScape Chief Executive Jagdeep Singh in an interview. She can save you a lot of trouble; instead of having to learn and make mistakes on our own, we can learn from her mistakes. Before joining Panasonic in 2019, Mikolajczak worked on battery development for ride-sharing vehicles at Tesla. She was also an engineer at Uber Technologies Inc. where she helped develop battery cells and packs for the Model S, X and 3 cars.

Panasonic determined it can bring Mikolajczak in while she remains at QuantumScape without creating conflicts of interest or endangering one company's trade secrets.

We compete in two different segments of the market and we thought the expertise that Singh said Celina is so helpful to us.

She is a known quantity. QuantumScape is trying to make lithium-metal batteries, which are a step up in lithium-ion technology.

Panasonic is n't yet trying this feat and is sticking to conventional lithium-ion batteries that are standard in the automotive industry. Read more: QuantumScape to take$ 20 Billion from SPAC to build battery future Mikolajczak's appointment also gets QuantumScape one-third of the way to comply with a California law that requires public companies with at least six directors to have three female directors by the end of this year.

While QuantumScape says its batteries could offer about 50% more range than the current commercial battery technology, the company has yet to demonstrate that it can manufacture its new battery on a mass scale.

The company has to prove it can become commercially viable.

Combined with the stock's surge, this uncertainty has attracted attacks from short sellers and volatile the shares. The shares of Scorpion Capital fell as much as 16% Thursday after hedge fund QuantumScape published a report claiming the company was a scam.

The startup pushed back against that allegation, offering a 10 point rebuttal. QS stands by its data, which speaks for itself, the company also tweeted a statement, which it also said. We have provided higher transparency than any other solid-state battery effort we are aware of.

The company raised more than$ 700 million by going public last year through a blank-check transaction with the company QuantumScape raised another$ 463 million last month to build its new battery pilot line in California, dubbed QS- 0. For more articles like this, please visit bloomberg.com at bloomberg.com Subscribe to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

  • Comments
Loading comments...