Mullen CEO Interview: Full Interview Transcript

Written by Cláudio Afonso | info@claudio-afonso.com | LinkedIn | Twitter

On the day that Mullen Automotive stock rose 44.90% after revealing the solid-state polymer battery test results, Risk On Live podcast host unveiled that Mullen’s CEO David Michery would be interviewed on the 227th episode on June 1st at 1:00 PM Pacific time. Here’s the transcription of the full interview — please scroll down for the latest updates.

Todd Ault

We have the privilege of having the CEO of Mullen Automotive and for full disclosure, we have a long position in Mullen. We invested in when they were a private company before they did their merger with NET Element.

I’m not an expert in battery technology but people care about this topic…I’ve been doing a lot of reading and it seems like to me that maybe the CEO of the company has stumbled onto something. I don’t consider myself an expert but I know that solid-state is a big deal.

This is the episode 227 and we’re gonna to dedicate this episode to Mullen Automotive, the technology company and to what appears to be something pretty remarkable. I can see that there are thousands of people in the chat, it will be very difficult to me to answer the questions or to even ask any questions.

Mr. Michery, welcome to the show and congratulations in what it seems to be another example of you getting test done there are working in your favour. Maybe you can walk everybody through the testing that was done and the independent lab. You seem to get a lot of progress here.

Mullen CEO, David Michery

I wanna thank you for inviting us for your show. Second, it’s been a process… We+re been working on this for quite some time, we started this process a while ago. We ran tests back in 2020 and then we ran tests again recently, a month ago.

We wanted to re-test our previous results as well as start to test the durability. For us it was important to look at the cell from multiple levels but the most important thing for us was to make sure we (interruption) We wanted to first and foremost collaborate our results that we conducted back in 2020 and for us it was important to get an independent third party, credible, major facility that tests not only governmental but at the university level and that is well recognised and respectful.

The test was processed, we very took about a month, we wanted to make sure that the amperage and the voltage, which is a key component for us, was tested and then re-tested and we are very satisfied with those results.

They exceeded our ratings for the cell, we originally had the rating of 300 ah at 3.7 volts and our test results came in initially at 343 and 4.3 and these results came in 343.2 at 4.1 which gave us a little bit of a bump on the amp hours.

We felt that not only has this proven to be sustainable test results on the same cell that took place 2+ years earlier exceeded results previously noted from the amp/hour perspective and slightly lower by a point or two on the voltage which signifies that the cell, over time, doesn’t loose much of its attributes which leads to the degradation of the cell like in any cell.

We believe that our cell has proven that it can sustain 343+ amp/h at 4.1 volts which were the recent results and 2 years earlier of 343 at 4.3 volts. So, that’s significant for us.

Right now we’re gonna work in different attributes of the cell meaning puncture tests, safety relating tests.. we’re also scaling, as we speak, taking these cells and scaling them to the vehicle pack level. So they’re going to a form factor that will fit into our vehicle and be tested at that level.

So, we’re proud that we can now scale to the vehicle pack level from the cell level and that’s a big plus for us.

We think that this chemistry will improve over time, will show that not only having the capability of being a game changer but also a safe transition unlike of we have today with vehicles that catch on fire due to standard chemistries. All of those things are not gonna be a fact, as I stated, you can take a torch and burn all through this cell and you submerge in salt water and it’s gonna be fine, it’s not gonna do anything. Can’t do that with conventional chemistry.

When it comes to the time of dispose, we can repurpose the cell after a decade, if you choose to, and we can put it into an energy storage and repurpose in that way. We can dispose them safely, they’re not considered dangerous… it’s a big game changer, I really believe this is good for the environment as we’re not mining rare metals from the earth. This is a great, great solution for the future and definitely for Mullen.

Todd Ault

What’s the difference between solid-state and non solid-state? I know you’re not an engineer either am I but… I had the privilege to talk with a gentleman that already tested your batteries one time and when people were questioning it, he seemed to believe the cells you were deliver were quite impressive. What’s the major difference because I know there’s a public traded company that is trying to get into solid-state and they are developing their own cells. What’s the major difference between those and the lithium ones used by Tesla?

Mullen CEO, David Michery

So, you have an anode and a cathode and then you have an electrolite. In a typical standard chemistry you have a liquid electrolite and Mullen use as an example, an advanced cathode maybe made by BASF like magnesium cobalt aluminium and an advanced panel like a silicon grapheene. And you can, theoretically, try to push the limits of what you can get with the liquid-based electrolite and an advanced chemistry on a traditional battery. That would be a battery that would use dangerous metals that are mined from the earth and then you have a flammable liquid that could, when ruptured, could cause fires and other bad things.

Solid-state is exactly that, it’s solid and you’re not using any dangerous elements. you’re literally a polymer, and when it comes to having to mine on a traditional level — I’m not an engineer, I usually tell people that I’m the dumbest guy in the room but I’m smart enough to associate myself with the smartest people that know how to take this stuff and make it a reality — though I had a little bit of engineering experience when I spent a year at CallTech so I understand a little bit about it but I prefer to [talk to] the experts.

I can tell you that rare metals that are mined from the earth are not in abundance and when you look for these metals to produce these cells that are conventionally used in these vehicles today, at some point we’re gonna to run out of these materials like you do for a gas/ ICE vehicle. You have oil that converts into gasoline, obviously the gasoline has the highest level of efficiency and when you look at what gets close… the closest I think right now that’s available would be a solid-state polymer and obviously ultimately the holy grail of battery technology would be like a lithium-air technology and we’ve been exploring that for quite some time.

We started back in 2017 exploring those possibilities with IBM and we looked at a coin-sized cell that potentially could be the Holly Grail of battery technology which would be on par, if not greater, than gasoline. The problem with that is trying to scale the air handling down to a manageable level when you can utilise it in a vehicle.

And then there were issues with hydrogen-peroxide been built on the cathode side, so those are the issues that I thought, right now with today’s technology, are hard issues to overcome. So the next best thing was obviously a solid-state polymer solution, which is on the next level of efficiency right below lithium-air. So you have gasoline, then lithium-air and then solid-state polymer, the safest being the solid-state polymer.

To answer your question, when it comes time to have a come to Jesus, and you can’t go get your lithium or mine anymore cobalt or aluminium — rare metals that you need for these conventional batteries — the only real solution is the solid-state polymer which the materials are readily available, it’s like having sand on a beach, you’re never gonna run out of it.

So, for my perspective, everyone has to transition to this point if they want to be able to produce vehicles and not just vehicles… produce batteries that are utilised in phones, utilised in homes, in appliances and just almost everything that operates today has some form of battery or component into it. We’re thinking about not just vehicles but also other areas and one of the things that is important for us when we announced scaling to the vehicle pack level we also gonna look out to a phone or to the level of providing smaller, more usable and longer lasting safe solutions for other industries and make our batteries, at some point in the future, available to everyone.

Again, we want to be a participant in an advancing society and being able to offer green solutions that are safe economical and in abundance. So, vehicles are one step to full-fill that goal ultimately we would like to get rid of the dependence on fossil fuels and the dependency on rare Earth materials.

It’s a whole ecosystem of being able to be green and that’s important to us. It starts with thinking out of the box and what can you do to help the guy next to you. I tell people all the time, our solutions — if we can get them to a point where they can be commercialised and we’re gonna try like hell to do that — we’re gonna offer them to everybody. Anybody that needs them, can get it from us. No problem.

Todd Ault

The idea is to license them or you expect yourself to be a manufacture?

Mullen CEO, David Michery

I wanna be like bluetooth, I wanna license it out to everybody.

Todd Ault

Got it! Makes sense, makes sense… If there any other competitors out there, I think QS (QuantumScape) but what other competitors of solid state are you paying attention to?

Mullen CEO, David Michery

I don’t really pay attention, to be quite honest with you, to what other people are doing. I got so much to do on the day. I literally start my day at 5:00 AM and at midnight I’m still going. I work seven days a week, no holidays as you know. I don’t take a break because I’m on a mission, I’m trying to change the world if I can.

It starts with bringing great products and work ethic , not just with me but with everyone attached at me and we want to put America back to work, that’s our primary goal. We also want to deliver safe and reliable products and whatever we got to do no matter how hard it is to get to that point.

If I spend my time worrying about what other people are doing I can’t never have anything done. I’m just focused in getting what we need to do done and whoever gets there first, God bless them. I’m gonna cheer him on. I think everybody has something to add to it and we’re gonna continue to do what we’re doing and focus and dig down deep, roll our sleeves up and we’re gonna work really hard to get people the best solution that you possibly can.

Todd Ault

You had an independent lab, not related to you, testing these results and this was the second time you’ve done this. Can you say a reason why people should pay more attention to the second test because people are always skeptic when you have innovation.

And the second question, probably one of the top questions asked is about Elon Musk. Apparently people think you have a relationship there.

Mullen CEO, David Michery

This is more for my purposes, really… I fully believe in EV Grid, there are a smaller company and they were in my budget when I hired them in 2019-2020 to perform these tests. I wanted to corroborate what my engineers were telling me and so I conducted the test. And then I wanted to take the exact same cell that was tested several years ago and subject it to a battery test, not a new cell but the same one. So that I can see what results were we gonna get and how’s the durability over time, which is a really key factor.

I was very interested in seeing how the original cell that was tested by EV Grid would hold up to testing done by a major facility like Battery Innovation Center (BIC). I took the same cell from 2′ years ago and now I’m providing additional 5 cells to do a battery of different tests. These tests are being done because I want them done, I want to now. I don’t mind sharing this information, I’m a public company so it’s very difficult any information that is non-public but I can do it when it becomes public which I’m doing it right now.

Like I said, there’s no other reason other than satisfaction to myself. To know that I have the same results, if not better and when I’m telling people that we’ve got 343 amp/h we better have those 343 amp/h. It’s important right? We as a society, we have to start trusting each other and work with each other to try to progress not only our own society but the world around us.

Things are very difficult today with inflation, potential war, wars and things that are happening like market fluctuating… anything that we can do to take people’s minds out of these events to the possibility of what future can be and have them imagining what’s possible.

A little company from 10 years ago started out with a gas-powered hybrid type of vehicle and its progress today to an electric vehicle to potential to be a game changer with its solid-state polymer solution and don’t get me wrong, we’re not the only guys doing it. There’s a lot of guys out there having their own ideas, their own chemistries and they’re trying to progress as we are and I wish them all the luck in the world.

I remember back in 2019, we ran commercials on Indy, on NBC and we had a blimp that flew over the race… we were really pushing our debut as electric vehicle company. In 2019, we were at the New York Auto Show where we debuted the DrangonFly and got a tremendous response, we toured it all over the country. We went to Indianopolis, we rental spots for the DragonFly out there, we sponsored Detroit Grand Prix and then Covid hit. It gave everyone opportunity for a reset and gave me an opportunity to really think about what I really wanted to do and where do I wanted to go.

But the message never changes, we want to create jobs here in America, we want to work to create real solutions to help not just for vehicles but solutions that can be utilised in every aspect of life.

Todd Ault

You formerly believe that solid-state its gonna be the answer over the current lithium batteries that we have…

Mullen CEO, David Michery

Look, I can tell you what I’m doing… We have conventional chemistry as we stated which we’re gonna use in our current vehicle (Mullen FIVE model) and then we’re gonna progress to a lithium chemistry and then graduate, we think in 2025 we will be able to put a solid-state polymer battery in our Mullen FIVE and see how it works and how it responds.

My ultimately goal… look, I haven’t given up on the lithium air technology, I paid a lot of money to IBM for that… I’m gonna progress that, I’m not promising that I’m gonna get to the finish line but I got engineers dedicated trying to get that IP and solve the issues of the air handling and the hydrogen on the cathode.

Mullen can have a lithium sair solution that would progress Mullen into the year 3000. We constantly evolving as a society and we’re evolving as a company and we’re looking forward to the future because we know what we can accomplish when we can imagine what’s possible.

Todd Ault

Why are they so many questions about the relationship with Elon Musk and Tesla? Is there anything that people should know about or are they speculating?

Mullen CEO, David Michery

Every now and then I look on Twitter and Reddit, I’ve heard all sorts of craziness… I’ve heard that we’re gonna be doing something with 7-11, CBS,… I heard that I was hanging out with Jeff Bezos (Amazon), all bunch of craziness. I don’t worry about what people say, you know… S***. They had me hanging out with Abraham Lincoln not to long ago.

Todd Ault

You have a big following! People are ruding for you… I can see that you have a shirt..

Mullen CEO, David Michery

It’s a Mullen army shirt, I’ll show it to you! For me this shirt shows the development of the car of the background that I’m leaning on, the Mullen FIVE that we took from a clay to a show car and now we’re taking it to the next level. Every step of the way is very special to me.

There’s people out there that call themselves the Mullen Army and I made a shirt in respect to them and to thank them for the support with a picture that means a lot to me about the development of the car that I was responsible for with my team. From the ground up, meaning every aspect of that vehicle from the design sitting with me and what’s funny is… we’re gonna do that to with the re-design of the Dragon Fly model. I want to give it a refresh with some amazing performance specs, I wanna use the same drivetrain as used on the Mullen FIVE RS. I want that car to go 200mph and I want it to do 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds. I wanna get out there with you Todd and go around the track a couple times!

Todd Ault

I’ve been reading about the tour you’re gonna go on..when does it start? What’s the plan?

Mullen CEO, David Michery

I’m gonna tell you right now… I wanna get out there with the car too and I think I’m gonna pop up in some cities, I won’t say which ones but, go for some rides with some investors of ours and people that have been supporting us. We’re gonna start in October, we’re gonna have the Mullen FIVE out there and go to some tracks and areas where we’re going to allow people to get in the car and physically drive it themselves and push that car to its limits. Then, we’re gonna continue that in March 2023 bringing the bad boy, I call it the devil: the Mullen FIVE RS.

And that boy is gonna be a rocket, when they see it it’s gonna be one of the most impressive looking… everyone’s gonna want one! I can guarantee that, it’s gonna be a beautiful car with a performance that’s mind-blowing. They can’t drive it because I don’t want them to wreck it. I’m gonna hire some Formula E race-car drivers and I’m gonna have a couple of these guys giving rides to as many people as we can and we’re gonna try them to not scare them too much, we don’t want them to throw up in the car. They’re gonna experience 200 mph and 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds and then they’re gonna look at that car. You can look at it yourself and make your own determination, this thing is a Bad Boy. I know you’re gonna want one, Todd.

Todd Ault

I saw the DragonFly’s mockup when I was there at your facility. Quite honestly, the car behind you I thought it is really beautiful

Mullen CEO, David Michery

Oh no, the Mullen FIVE RS is the car behind me [Mullen FIVE] in steroids and that’s the car I’m telling you you’re gonna want one. You’re gonna be able to drive the Mullen FIVE yourself and push it to the limits. But you’re gonna get a ride in the Mullen FIVE RS, that car is crazy fast, it is mind blowing how fast that car is. Over 1,100 horsepower.

Todd Ault

I participated in the IPO way back in the day with Tesla and it’s a challenge here… sometimes people get lucky… I think maybe there are some similarities to you and I and that is: we have a d*** Alzamend in phase 2 ($ALZN), we brought it public last year. I get nothing but people telling me

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Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund filed on Tuesday a NPORT-P form disclosing ownership of 958,351 shares of Mullen Automotive by the end of the first quarter. The fund had closed 2021 owning 117,454 shares (as filed on March 1st) which represents an increase of 715,94 percent quarter over quarter.

On Tuesday, Mullen Automotive shares closed 44.90% higher at $1.40 per share after the announcement of its solid-state polymer battery testing results by Battery Innovation Center (BIC).

Written by Cláudio Afonso | info@claudio-afonso.com | LinkedIn | Twitter

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