Quantum computing leader Xanadu is drawing big international automakers to collaborate within the province on electric battery innovation In a partnership that has caught global attention in the auto industry, Volkswagen Group recently announced it is teaming up with Toronto quantum computing company Xanadu to advance battery technology for electric vehicles. Specifically, the two companies will develop resource-efficient quantum algorithms to accelerate Volkswagen’s adoption of quantum computers, aiming to reduce computational costs and develop battery materials that are safer, lighter and more cost-effective. The news follows Volkswagen’s (VW) launch of a new auto strategy that will see the German multinational transform itself into a software-driven mobility company—with the goal of manufacturing only battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2040. Given that VW’s total BEV sales were just 6% in 2021, there’s work to be done. Critical to success will be developing battery materials that are safer, lighter and more cost-effective—which is where Xanadu comes in. “Working together with a cutting-edge company like Xanadu is like hopping on a speed boat heading at the next big thing: quantum computing might trigger a revolution in material science and optimization, key competencies to grow our in-house battery expertise,” says Dr. Nikolai Ardey, head of Volkswagen Group Innovation. VW is not the only auto manufacturer eager to work with Xanadu. BMW is also working with the company—and, while founder and CEO Christian Weedbrook won’t name names, he does confirm he’s in talks with other car companies. In just six years, Xanadu has set itself apart from competitors like Google, IBM and Intel with a unique photonic approach, which it believes will enable it to become the first company to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere. On the strength of its innovative science and track record, Xanadu has raised US$200 million in the past eighteen months in two financing rounds from investors that include Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Ontario-based Georgian, as well as BDC Capital, Bessemer Ventures Partners, Forward Ventures, Pegasus Tech Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. “That kind of continued support from top-tier investors in an uncertain economic climate is a testament to their belief in our photonic technology, our exceptional team and our ability to execute,” says Weedbrook. “Our partnership with Xanadu is a great example of Volkswagen’s commitment to leveraging innovative technologies like quantum computing to accelerate towards 100% electric mobility solutions, optimizing our processes wherever possible,” said Dr. Arne-Christian Voigt, Future Research, Volkswagen AG. “We are excited to push the boundaries of material simulation and build on top of the foundational research we have done so far with Xanadu’s quantum algorithms team.” Plugging into Ontario’s ecosystem With electric vehicles unquestionably the way of the future, more and more automakers are turning to Ontario—and forward-thinking companies like Xanadu—to help give them an all-important competitive edge. That’s because Ontario has an established and respected auto industry that’s been positioning itself as an EV powerhouse for some time. Ontario also has an end-to-end ethical supply chain and a plentiful supply of minerals crucial to EV battery production, such as graphite, lithium, nickel and cobalt. Ontario government focused on building the cars of tomorrow Ontario’s auto industry has the support of the government to make the province a leader in EV development and production. This support includes the well-funded Ontario Innovation Network (OVIN), which is single-mindedly focused on driving innovation and investment in Ontario’s electric, connected and autonomous vehicle sector. Canadian government signs MOUs with Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz In a sign that Canada is quickly becoming a global green supplier of choice for EV battery and vehicle production, both Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz recently signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Canadian government to promote electric mobility while enhancing collaboration among the parties. If you’re involved in any aspect of electric vehicle development or production, and you’re not already working here with us, you probably should be. Find out why global automakers are choosing to invest in Ontario.