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QuantumScape's Manufacturing Drama Tests Silicon Valley Moonshot

The departure of its top manufacturing expert is bad news for the battery startup backed by Volkswagen.

The lab at QuantumScape in San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 4, 2021.

The lab at QuantumScape in San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 4, 2021.

Photographer: GABRIELA HASBUN/NYTNS

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Battery startup QuantumScape dropped some news last week that we reporters like to call a Friday night news dump. That’s when companies try to bury unpleasant information by releasing it at the end of the work week, when reporters are tired and readers are headed to happy hour.

The company did just that on Friday, announcing the departure of Chief Manufacturing Officer Celina Mikolajczak after a year in the job. The Tesla and Panasonic veteran was a key hire when she joined QuantumScape to help bring battery innovations from the lab to the factory floor.