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Mullen announces the production of solid batteries, another startup that is torn between reality and smoke

New American electric car manufacturer Mullen Technologies has announced the conversion of its plant in Monrovia, California, to start productionuction of battery packs for your electric vehicles. Its intention is to reduce the dependence on external suppliers and the risk of bottlenecks in the acquisition of materials and the supply of components. On the other hand, the internal production of the most expensive component involved in an electric car will reduce costs and improve quality control overview of its manufacture

Mullen Technologies is an American start-up based in California, a manufacturer of electric vehicles generally on a commission basis. It has facilities located in Monrovia, a city located in the county of Los Angeles in the state of California. This plant was previously used by Coda Energy to produce the battery packs that Coda installed in the electric limousine it intended to market. Mullen acquired Coda’s assets in 2014 following Coda’s bankruptcy in 2013.

Mullen’s strategy is to use previously assembled battery packs based on lithium and sulfur cells in its own electric cars. The new batteries will be installed in the three models that the brand has proposed: The Mullen Five electric SUV, the One EV Cargo van and the DragonFly EV sports car.

Regarding its first model, the Mullen Five, its first generation is scheduled to be launched in 2024, still with conventional lithium batteries. The following year, the Californian company will start testing the second generation in which it will already offer solid electrolyte batteries. It is a technology that the manufacturer has called “solid state polymer cells”, that is, the electrolyte through which the lithium ions travel, instead of being liquid, will be a semisolid polymer.

Mullen Technologies electric suv solid batteries-cover
Mullen Five.

In addition, Mullen claims to be working on the development of lithium-sulfur batteries. It is one of the most promising technologies due to its technical, economic and environmental advantages, since it offers greater energy capacity and lower cost. However, for its implementation in electric vehicles it is necessary to solve its intrinsic degradation problems.

Reality or smoke?

Mullen has had a checkered history, completely changing strategy several times. It first wanted to build an electric saloon, then in 2018 it went on to produce the Chinese Qiantu K50 electric sports car in the US. Just two years later it announced an electric SUV that should have come to fruition in 2021.

The question that remains in the air is whether all these announcements will end up materializing in realities. Mullen Automotive has already been the subject of some stir for its numerous advertisements, although recently Hindenburg Research, a short-term investment firm, accused of misleading investors. The claim affected both the development of the batteries and their models.

The Qiantu K50 will be manufactured and sold in the US from 2020
Qiantu K50.

As for the batteries, Hindenburg Research says that Mullen alone has invested around $3 million in research and development in 2021. Car and battery manufacturers are using solid electrolyte battery technology as a hype to attract investor attention. Furthermore, according to Hindenburg’s research, a recently published battery test was just a repeat of a test from 2020 and thus technically made no sense.

As for its electric modelsToday, Mullen announced the delivery of two electric vans to a major US customer within a few months. However, according to Hindenburg, the vehicles are not Mullen’s own development as stated, but China-made vehicles bearing the Mullen logo. Records show the company recently imported two vehicles from China, one of each model. Mullen does not appear to have EPA certificates for them, which is a requirement for commercialization, which can take 12-18 months.

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