A real pain point for those considering a battery electric vehicle is the time it takes to recharge its batteries. But an Arizona startup said Thursday it has put into production a battery cell it says can be fully energized in less than 15 minutes.
Atlis Motor Vehicles is producing its AMV battery cells at its Mesa, Arizona, headquarters and is developing battery cells and packs to power its XP platform and XP battery-electric pickup trucks with driving ranges of 300-500 miles. The company said it plans to commercially launch the next generation AMV battery cell in the fourth quarter of this year after several months of testing and validation.
The secret to reducing battery charging times from hours to as few as 10 minutes is by eschewing the prevailing practice of concentrating on chemistry, but rather focusing on thermal management, according to Atlis CEO Mark Hanchett.
“We’re chemistry agnostic,” said Hanchett in an interview. “When it comes to thermal management material selection 99% is the physical geometry. It’s the construction, it’s how you assembly that. It’s what you do with the electrodes. We did something everybody else said couldn’t be done.”
As part of a three-year agreement with Clemson University Atlis partnered with the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute (CNI) with CNI founder and director Apparao Rao and his team to develop the AMV battery cell.
Commercialization of the cells, however, will take a temporary backseat to producing all that are needed to power the Atlis XT electric work trucks that are set to debut in late 2022. Hanchett explained the reasoning is twofold. For one, battery production is likely to be a lucrative revenue source as the world mobility moves towards electrification. It’s also a hedge against supply chain disruptions, much as the auto industry is seeing from the current global semiconductor shortage.
“When you think about electrification and you think about the future the foundation of that is going to be batteries and cells,” Hanchett said. “If you don’t own that core critical piece of this whole puzzle you’re going to face challenges on the supply chain side in competition, in material shortages and interest.”
As a small startup, commercialization goals are similarly modest. Its XT trucks are basically pickups that can handle bigger jobs so its initial target market will be what Hanchett terms class two, class 3 customers such as utility and cable TV companies, “not the Ford F-150 crowd,” at least initially.
Hanchett notes the company plans to produce only about 150 trucks in 2022 but expects that to quickly ramp up to 75,000 annually by 2026.
At the same time, the initial market for the AMV battery will be centered on small, last-mile businesses, what Hanchett terms, “the non-sexy, other side of the market, potentially relatively large that nobody’s chasing.”
That’s right now. Hanchett says Atlis is in talks with several automakers he won’t name, but that’s business he’s hoping for in future since those companies have longer development timeframes.
Despite starting small, Hanchett is confident his little company’s big move with quick charging batteries will quickly make a difference as the industry works to convince consumers and commercial customers to replace their internal combustion engine vehicles with those that run on batteries.
“Based on the data we have we’re gonna have an immediate impact,” predicted Hanchett. “It’s gonna be the thing that takes off like a rocket ship.”