Bits of emerging information are beginning to paint a picture that Volkswagen Group may be poised to become a huge player in the battery electric vehicle market, a position that could spell tough times ahead for industry maverick Elon Musk and his Tesla Gigafactory concept. Bloomberg has reported that the German automaker has purchased a 5-percent stake in QuantumScape Corp., a Silicon Valley startup that has a new approach to battery technology.

During an L.A. Auto Show roundtable, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser hinted that VW was close to a breakthrough in batteries that not only use different electrolytes than the current technology, but also have power and storage capability that is greater by "a factor of four to five" times.

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According to the report, a QuantumScape profile says it's "working on a fundamental disruption in the field of energy storage." 

Bloomberg also quotes a speech by VW CEO Martin Winkerkorn delivered at Stanford University this past November where he sees "great potential in this new technology, possibly boosting the range to as much as 700 kilometers [430 miles]."  Currently, the 2015 VW eGolf has an EPA estimated range of 83 miles. Tesla Model S has a range of 265 miles.

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