ATLIS Motor Vehicles Inc. and Clemson University have partnered to advance development of electric-vehicle batteries that charge faster, last longer and can be scaled to fit a variety of vehicle classes.
ATLIS, a startup company based in Arizona, is developing battery cells and packs to power the Atlis XP Platform and XT pickup truck. The associated battery research is being jointly executed at the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute (CNI). To further advance the technology, ATLIS and Clemson executed a three-year master research agreement led by CNI founder and director Apparao Rao, an expert in nanomaterials, the R. A. Bowen professor of physics, and a Fellow of four prestigious societies – the American Physical Society, American Association for Advancement of Science, National Academy of Inventors and the Materials Research Society. Rao’s research is focused on understanding and exploiting the properties of nanomaterials for energy harvesting and energy storage.
At CNI, Professor Rao along with his research associates and students will assist ATLIS with further development of their battery technology. Unlike existing cell designs, the ATLIS battery will utilize custom coatings to strike a balance between energy and power. These coatings, coupled with a special mechanical construction, will lead to optimized energy capacity and reduced charging time.
“I was presented the opportunity to partner with ATLIS through one of my former students who is now an engineer at ATLIS,” said Rao. “Through this collaborative effort, I have not only been able to utilize my proficiency in nanomaterials to assist in further developing this superior cell technology, but I have also had the opportunity to provide an atmosphere where my students and postdoctoral researchers can experience firsthand the steps taken by industry to develop a product and bring it to market. This partnership highlights that CNI is a hub where academia-industrial partnerships are fostered by bringing faculty researchers together with industry partners to create new technologies.”
ATLIS is developing an all-electric XT pickup truck with the goal of outperforming gasoline and diesel-powered pickup trucks with a 500-mile range battery that recharges in less than 15 minutes. The ATLIS battery-cell technology features a minimum number of components, thus reducing assembly cost and complexity, while providing an ultra-fast charging structure. ATLIS aims to utilize formulations developed by the joint research team, through this partnership, to improve the overall function and structure of the battery with the intent to adapt the findings for use in future vehicle offerings.
“This is an exciting example of how collaborative efforts between scholars and practitioners can benefit both our academic and entrepreneurial stakeholders,” said Mark Hanchett, founder and CEO of ATLIS. “Our team along with Clemson’s CNI researchers will be conducting critical research to bring innovative battery technology to market.”
“Industry collaborations like this nurture commercial innovations, help us maintain unique research facilities, and provide excellent educational and networking opportunities for students,” said Tanju Karanfil, Clemson University vice president for research. “I am excited to see the impact ATLIS and Dr. Rao and his team have through this research.”
The CNI is located at the Clemson University Advanced Materials Research Laboratory in Anderson County. The Institute specializes in studying the fundamental properties and applications of a broad range of nanomaterials and is developing cutting-edge multidisciplinary research that can widen the frontiers of nanoscience and significantly impact industrial technologies. Established in 2013, CNI contains approximately 5,000 square-feet of research space and houses a variety of synthesis and characterization equipment. Currently, CNI has seven active agreements with industrial partners, and nearly 10 faculty members, 25 students and postdocs use the facility for various collaborative projects.
“CNI is an excellent example of capabilities that exist in Clemson’s research enterprise that can be leveraged by industrial partners to create collaborations that have an eye toward creating new technologies,” said Chase Kasper, director of Business Development at the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF), which provides technology transfer and industry engagement support for Clemson’s research enterprise. “The partnership between ATLIS and CNI is another example of how CURF is actively engaged in creating linkages and formalizing relationships with industry partners. We are very excited to see how the CNI and ATLIS will work together to advance and shape the future of the electric truck.”