Mark Hanchett | Atlis Motor Vehicles

 In Being an Engineer Podcast


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Who is Mark Hanchett?

Mark Hanchett, CEO and founder of Atlis Motor Vehicles, discusses how he started this new EV company with us on the Being An Engineer podcast. Mark is a mechanical engineer and former Director at Axon (formerly Taser). He has the following to say about developing new technologies:

“I believe that to change the world we need to build it ourselves. We cannot wait for the government to force it, and we cannot wait for big corporations to innovate. To make this world better, we need to develop the products, technologies, and solutions that make the current standard obsolete. I believe dedication to this is what makes great products and great people.”

Aaron Moncur, host


atlas, engineer, vehicle, technology, focused, automotive, products, truck, people, company, battery, mark, axon, build, building, taser, develop, tow, market, solution
Presenter, Aaron Moncur, Mark Hanchett

Presenter 00:00
Hi everyone, we’ve set up this being an engineer podcast as an industry knowledge repository, if you will, we hope it’ll be a tool where engineers can learn about and connect with other companies, technologies, people, resources and opportunities. So make some connections and enjoy the show.

Mark Hanchett 00:18
The traditional way to do this is build it, test it and see what happens. That’s not a good engineer, a good engineer sets a target and a requirement and then they hit the requirement.

Aaron Moncur 00:42
Hello, and welcome to another exciting episode of The being an engineer Podcast. Today we’re talking with Mark Hanchett, who is CEO and founder at Atlis motor vehicles, Mark as a mechanical engineer, and formerly director at axon formerly taser, I like to read marks LinkedIn description, because I think it’ll set the tone for the rest of the conversation. It says, I believe that to change the world, we need to build it ourselves. We cannot wait for the government to force it. And we cannot wait for big corporations to innovate. To make this world better. We need to develop the products, technologies, and solutions that make the current standard obsolete. I believe dedication to this is what makes great products and great people. This this is a theme that I heard many times as I was researching for this episode and listening, reading, learning about the development of AMVs, Atlas motor vehicles, products. And we’ll certainly get into that shortly. Before we do that, Mark, can you just maybe take a minute and introduce yourself, who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done and where you are now.

Mark Hanchett 01:57
Yeah. So thanks for having me on the show here. I’m Mark Hanchett, as you alluded to i, and how do I describe myself, I like doing innovative, cool stuff. And I’ve, I’ve spent my entire professional career, building products from concept to complete end of life and the next generation of building businesses within those products that have completely changed the world. And that’s what I love to do. I don’t like to just sort of play in a field. That’s exciting. I like to do things that change lives. And I spent 10 years doing that at axon and you know, incorporating Atlas in 2016 been doing that. Since then. mechanical engineer by education, I’ve done software, hardware, cloud services, mobile battery powered systems, embedded systems, weapon systems, like all these sorts of crazy kind of things, when you think about it, and throughout my entire career. And every single one has been focused on that one thing, which is, how do we make like people’s lives better? How do we save lives in the last company? How do we create transparency? Here at Atlas, we’re very much so focused on making lives better by leveraging the technology that we’re building for like electric vehicles and things like that. But how do we make it better for those that are going to what we say build, dig, grow and maintain? Because that is a forever industry, we will always need those things. So how do we leverage technology and build ecosystems and product solutions that make those lives and those jobs easier?

Aaron Moncur 03:38
i We’re definitely going to dig into Atlas a lot during this episode. Before I get there. I’m hoping I can ask you a couple of questions about axon. Formerly taser, I you know, every engineer here in Arizona knows what Taser is what axon is because they’re in our backyard in Scottsdale, I actually did a short stint there myself on loan from another engineering company for about a month or so. So I have even a little bit of hands on experience there. But for those who don’t know what axon is, can you share a little bit about that company and what your role was?

Mark Hanchett 04:10
Yeah. So axon is a company dedicated to one making the bullet obsolete? How do we create a solution that one saves lives but is better than a bullet, I guess would be the best way to say that. And then of course, the other side of axon is this idea of leveraging digital digital technology and for evidence management, digital evidence management records management, how do we make the world of law enforcement more transparent? But how do we save lives through this sort of digital evidence, transparent evidence collection sort of methodology? And how do we tie that all together in one big ecosystem so everybody knows them originally as Taser which was focused on Building the weapon systems. When I got involved, I was building the world’s first 12 gauge shotgun shell Taser projectiles, I think what officers carry and a hip, we put that in a 12 gauge shotgun shell. And I ended my career on the video side of the business. And that was an interesting one. Because this idea of transparency and law enforcement, Video Collection, digital evidence management, they’ve gotten into a whole bunch of other stuff since then, is this idea that you can actually save more lives. Leveraging something as simple as that, potentially, than anything else. Because the moment people know that they’re being recorded, the attitude changes, everything changes. But we operated under a mindset that it wasn’t just about the products it was it was about the vision of where we were going. And everything we did had to make law enforcement lives better, easier and sort of go from there. And I developed everything for battery systems, to hardware systems to high powered high voltage systems to I get into some bio stuff I got into like material science, I gathered all these things. And axon is really dedicated towards that particular mission. Now, what I’m doing today is taking that mindset that we had at axon and applying it to this sort of new energy automotive ecosystem. Because over there, that’s what we did. We didn’t just build hardware products, we built solutions.

Aaron Moncur 06:34
Now, I’ve heard this could be apocryphal, So correct me if this is not correct, but I’ve heard that the engineers that work, at least on the weapon systems that you know, the Taser side of things, they have to be tased, before they come out of the company, is that true?

Mark Hanchett 06:48
It’s not a requirement. But at least during my time, there, we all volunteered.

Aaron Moncur 06:54
Okay, and what was what does that feel like?

Mark Hanchett 06:57
It’s, it’s just scary. And then when you’re done, you’re done. So for like that five seconds, it’s just scary, right? Because you can’t move. But then when you’re done, you’re, you’re done.

Aaron Moncur 07:12
No residual, you know, side effects after that. No. And during that five seconds, you’re just immobilized.

Mark Hanchett 07:18
Yeah. And that’s the scary part, right? Like you’re trying to do something you just can’t.

Aaron Moncur 07:22
And I imagine there’s some pain that goes along with that immobilization.

Mark Hanchett 07:26
No, that’s that’s the interesting thing. Yeah.

Aaron Moncur 07:30
Oh, wow. That’s surprising. Okay. Very interesting. Well, what Mark winding back the clock even a little bit further, what was it that made you decide to become an engineer in the first place?

Mark Hanchett 07:42
Yeah, so that’s interesting. I’m one of those guys that, you know, I’ve always been into technology, I started my first business when I was 11. I’ve done a number of things throughout my life, but kind of trying to figure out like, where you want to go, engineering was one of those things where I could do anything, I could work on anything, I could go anywhere, and I could invent really cool things. And actually, I had a professor at a community college that I started at, and he talked me into it. He’s sort of like, gave me this little speech. And I remember it because he was talking about like, do you want to be a person who just uses it? Or do you want to be a person that kind of creates it. And the way he had put it at that time was very compelling. And an idea that, okay, if I go through this thing I could do, I could work in aerospace, I could work in this case, we’re doing the Eevee things. But I can literally like all those things that I think about and talk about doing that are like these big, profound things that I want to do. Engineering is a path to doing those things. Sometimes we think about like the business guys that are running the show. But in reality, especially in the technology, space, and in product development space, the engineers are really the ones that that realize that vision. And that’s why I chose this particular path.

Aaron Moncur 09:01
Yeah, it really is amazing how much you can do with a background in engineering. I mean, it’s not just designing products there. I think engineering teaches you how to learn and once you know how CERN you know, sky’s the limit.

Mark Hanchett 09:16
Yeah, I would say being an engineer or working as an engineer, now it’s not it’s possible for you to go from nothing to an engineer without the education piece. I I will say that that is entirely possible. I have a team member here. I will praise all day because he is living proof of that. But it’s interesting in that an engineer allows you as you said, to learn to do anything, you could do business, you could do marketing, you could do sales if you want it to, but it teaches you how to fundamentally build an understanding of something and apply it to something and that’s very powerful.

Aaron Moncur 09:54
Absolutely. All right. Well, let’s let’s dive into Atlas how and when Did Atlas get started and what what needs is Atlas trying to accomplish that that other automotive companies are not fulfilling.

Mark Hanchett 10:09
So the way I would describe Atlas is the automotive industry hasn’t changed for 100 years, 100 plus years. And all of the new companies that are coming out today, they’re really not changing anything in the industry. They’re building a new kind of propulsion. Electrification is a new type of propulsion. It’s a new type of energy storage and a new way of propelling a vehicle. But you’re not necessarily like changing the fundamental industry of the automotive space, you’re still building a vehicle and selling it. And Atlas is foundationally, built on this concept that we can completely changed this industry in terms of how we think about the vehicles, how we, how we sell those to customers, how we interact with customers, and how those particular products interact with the rest of the ecosystem, that is that that falls in the space. It’s not vehicles anymore, its energy production storage distribution application. And the reason why I put it like that is because there’s this idea that all of that is interconnected throughout your entire sort of life in your daily life. And bringing all of that together means you’re bringing a solution to market versus a singular product that operates in and of itself. And the success of that is, is dependent on others. And the experience your customer has is dependent on others. So in the fundamental technology around that as battery technology, and that’s why we’re starting there, versus going right for the vehicle and then figuring out how I like build the rest of it. Because the vehicle is just a piece of the puzzle. So Atlas is really about fundamentally changing this particular space, when we think of energy infrastructure, and applications, the reason why it’s applications because it could be equipment, vehicles, other things that are battery powered, whatever that is that operate within that sort of ecosystem. And we’re very focused on the work market, because work is everything. Its agriculture, its construction, its maintenance, its services, its utility companies, it is everything that will forever be needed. And the consumer market might change. But no matter what, we’re always going to need those things.

Aaron Moncur 12:28
I want to interject something there. You mentioned that you’re focused on the work market. When I was researching for this interview, I watched some videos and one of the products you have this the X t pickup truck. Yes. And it it looks enormous. You’re not a small dude, yourself. And you were standing next to me. I’m not distinct. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I didn’t mean that. Like you’re fat way. Too late, I’m sure. But yeah. But is it? Is it really that big of a truck? Or is it just the lens in which this thing was filmed or something? It looks huge?

Mark Hanchett 13:08
Yeah, it’s really, we’re really focused on what we call class two and above. So think, what most people call heavy duty, but think like f 250. And above market segments. Or if you’re looking to like an F 150. But like on the high end of an F 150. In terms of like capability, size, engine, performance, that’s where we find the most exciting because that’s really like, when I think of all those markets that I talked about, that’s what they need. They outfit their vehicles are towing, they’re hauling, they’re like doing stuff with it. And these little baby vehicles work in certain applications, but they don’t work everywhere. The consumer market doesn’t need it. But it’s actually what’s interesting. It’s one of the fastest growing segments in the consumer market as well, which is super vehicles, the sort of like f 250, sort of market segments. So it’s very interesting, where things are just kind of shifting that way. So while we are work focused, we do have a tremendous number of into what we call individual buyers, that are interested in what we’re doing because they use their trucks for maybe they’re like weekend warriors, right. They sort of do projects on the weekends, maybe they’re campers, they’re, you know, they tow things up in the mountains, they take their toys out for it. We’re in Arizona, right? You take your UTV out to the desert, you’re going to tow the trailer in the YouTube use the four wheelers and the dirt bikes and everything else, right, and you want to go out there and play for a weekend. That’s the market segment that we were really focused on.

Aaron Moncur 14:34
How did you come up with the idea for this company? I mean, is it something that you’ve been thinking about for just years and years and years? Or was it like a lightbulb moment?

Mark Hanchett 14:44
No, it’s I don’t think anything’s like a light bulb moment. Everything is progressive, right? If you’re, as an engineer, you’re trying to solve a problem. And you’ve identify a solution and as you identify solution, you realize, okay, well there’s this and this and that So and that’s in this problem set. And then as you sort of think through that particular problem set, you identified, kind of like, okay, well, here’s the larger sort of problem that exists here. And therefore the opportunity. So I thought about this for a very long time. 2013 was like, kind of this Eureka year for me where I was like, You know what, like, I’m gonna do this thing. And that’s when I really started working on it. 2016 is when we incorporated but from 2016 on, it has always been, we’ve never changed our business model. It has always been focused on the energy side, battery side energy storage, production, platform technology solutions for upfitters, and those that want to electrify their particular niche solution to work within that ecosystem. And then the truck, the truck is the flagship product, it’s a staple product. It’s a common product in all of those industries. So it’s foundational. But the business is really built around. Those are the products that we talked about, but it’s built around how all those things interact. So we don’t we want to be a solutions provider, we go into a construction company, I don’t want to just give you a truck. I want to give you every piece of the truck, the infrastructure and everything to make that business operate. And then we’ve got long term visions beyond that.

Aaron Moncur 16:16
Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. I’m curious about how an automotive company like this gets funded. I mean, it’s got to be hundreds of millions, if not billions to start a new automotive company, even though I get that you’re not strictly automotive, right? You have these other kind of core platforms and automotive is layered on, how does that happen? What’s the process like?

Mark Hanchett 16:42
So I would say 99.9% of the time, there’s maybe two or three of us that are not funded this way. It comes from individual wealth, or family wealth, is what starts most of these companies, in fact. So it’s an individual that had prior company, right, and therefore they sold that and they’re, they’re wealthy individual, and they want to start an automotive company. It’s one where mom and dad, I think, like mom’s a senator, right. Dad’s got a engineering business, they put all their sort of funds into it and fund that. It’s typically how it’s funded. There’s those two ways, but it’s not necessarily the way you have to do it. Because the challenge is the in the vehicle side or the the battery side, it’s about $2 billion to your first dollar of revenue. Wow. So

Aaron Moncur 17:34
yeah, this is not like an app startup, right? Where you raise a couple million dollars in you’re

Mark Hanchett 17:40
not a weekend. Yeah, where you can raise like a million bucks. Right? And that gets you to your next milestone and keep going from there. Although I guess I can call bullshit on that. Sorry to swear, but because that’s what I did. So I’m a much more humble background, humble beginnings here. But I think that’s actually powerful. Because what we did was, I leveraged the customer base and the consumer or the buyer, and went out there and said, Listen, if I’m doing the things, if this is right, then would they get behind this? So we actually raised I think we’re up to about $35 million so far. And we raised $35 million, from roughly about 20,000. Investors, their investors, they’re not, this isn’t Kickstarter pre orders, they own common stock about let’s motor vehicles. We did a million that a million, then 14, then five, then I think we’re up to like 15. Now. So it’s been this like, crazy journey, as we go through this thing. Now, we’re moving on to the next phase. But what’s interesting is we’ve raised $35 million. And we’ve done more with 35 million than most do with 300.

Aaron Moncur 18:53
Interesting. So talk a little bit about that. How is your team able to be so efficient with the funds that you have? What are you doing that other companies are not? Or vice versa? What are you not doing that other companies aren’t? Shouldn’t be?

Mark Hanchett 19:06
Well, I won’t say that we don’t get distracted, everybody does. But I think we’re very, very good at focusing on the things that matter and not focusing on the things that don’t matter right now. What I was gonna say is like you, you spend money, time and energy on the things that truly matter at that point, and you don’t know if tomorrow is going to come. So you bet on tomorrow and you build as though tomorrow is going to come but you understand that the decisions you make today, you’ll look back on and say why? But it you know, it makes sense at that moment in time. So focus on that moment, and focus on how that moment gets you to the next day. And I think that’s what makes us different. Others they get a huge check. And then they spend all this money, but they’re not really focused on today and how that gets to tomorrow. They’re more focused on like, how do I make this business look cool, or you know, whatever it is, there’s things that don’t matter at the moment that are not going to get you to tomorrow.

Aaron Moncur 20:07
Yeah. Do you have any tricks? Because in the moment, it might be tough to realize this does or does not matter long term, do you have any tricks to any rules of thumb to help you determine which things really do or don’t matter.

Mark Hanchett 20:22
So always focus on the things that are core to what you’re trying to deliver. So if you’re in engineering, you’re developing a product. There’s always 100 things that you can test, there’s 100, things that you could think of to make your product better. Those things might come in the next generation, the next iteration, but focus on the core things that are functional for that application. Those are the things that matter. And work on those,

Aaron Moncur 20:47
what I’m hearing you say if I were to rephrase it, is that have a clear, strong vision or purpose? And when you need to make decisions, especially big ones, look back to the vision and purpose and ask yourself, Does this decision or how does this decision, support the vision or the purpose that we have as a company? And if it does, great, that’s what you do. If it doesn’t discard it, move on to the next thing? Is that more or less what you’re saying?

Mark Hanchett 21:16
Yeah, and I would say, you’re gonna make 10 million mistakes along the way. Don’t dwell on a mistake, just like okay, mistake was made. This is what we learned next.

Aaron Moncur 21:29
Yeah. All right. Well, I’m gonna take a short pause and share with the listeners that Team is where you can learn more about how we help medical device and other product engineering or manufacturing teams, develop turnkey equipment, custom fixtures and automated machines to characterize, inspect, assemble, manufacture and perform verification, test testing on your devices. And today, we’re speaking with Mark Hanchett, from Atlas motor vehicles. So let’s see Mark, what we talked a little bit about the X t pickup, what what are some of the the features or technologies that differentiate that vehicle from other vehicles out there, especially as as more and more electric trucks are being introduced to the market?

Mark Hanchett 22:16
So we always start with the core thing. If you’re gonna make a big leap forward, the battery is foundational. That is the thing that is going to require compromise. And that is what’s different with us. So we’re an energy company, we build our own battery cells and packs, and that’s going into the tea

Aaron Moncur 22:38
buying found that Panasonic or something? No, no.

Mark Hanchett 22:41
And we’ve developed our own technology, it’s patented or patent pending, depending on which piece of it you’re talking about. That allows you to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes, but also because of that, it allows you to get consistent output from 100% to 0% of the battery. And that’s important, because when you’re towing hauling, and it’s heavy loads, you want consistency throughout that range.

Aaron Moncur 23:06
That is amazing. 15 minutes. Now, let me clarify is, is this a technology that already exists? Or is that that’s kind of the goal, you want to get to a point where you can charge it in 15 minutes.

Mark Hanchett 23:18
So we’ve already demonstrated the technology it exists. We’ve, the when I started the company 2018, I think roughly 2018, August, something like that September, we we charged the battery pack in 12 minutes, 47 seconds. And we’ve been continuing to develop that technology since then we’re down to eight minutes. 50 seconds consistent.

Aaron Moncur 23:42
That’s amazing. Yeah, I’ve been following the electric pickup truck revolution that’s going on right, the rivian and Hummer and the Ford lightning that f150 lightning, and that’s one of the big complaints still, I mean, all electric vehicles, not just trucks, but yeah, takes you know, an hour to charge up even at one of the fast charging stations, let alone if you plug in at home, and then it’s like, you know, 10 hours or something.

Mark Hanchett 24:08
Right. So this goes back to what I was talking about earlier, if you’re going to change the world, you you’re not going to convince people to compromise, you’ll get early adopters that will accept it and you’ll get some that are like okay, I don’t really need this. But if you’re really truly going to change the world, you have to do something that doesn’t require compromise. This is one of those things. And in the truck market. You’re talking about people that one like they have needs and whether or not you agree with their needs, it doesn’t matter. They have needs and you have to be able to meet those needs. And if you want to convince them to make that transition, you have to develop the technology to do that. So they want to tow they want to haul and they don’t want to waste time sitting still.

Aaron Moncur 24:48
Yeah, amazing. Well, it’s what a huge milestone. All right. Who who is the XD pickup for and when will it be available to you? No. I know you said it’s mostly for probably fleets, you know, the workforce. But for even for individuals who might want to purchase one, when is when are they going to be available? Do you think?

Mark Hanchett 25:09
So I don’t give forecast anymore, because it’s all dependent on funding and everything else, what I will say is, you can continue to watch the progress on the truck on our social media channels, YouTube channels, and everything that’s there, we’ll continue to develop that. And you’re gonna see that over the next several years, as we continue to move forward, I’m not gonna give timeframes on that, I’m sorry. Because I’ll get beat up for that later. Right. And you know, it’s one of those things. But as we get closer to a release date, you’ll definitely start to be updated on that, we have almost 50 plus 1000 reservations for the truck today, plus another 20,000. Committed purchase orders for it. So or committed contracts for it, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t use the term purchase orders. These are contractual commitments to buy 20,000 Plus vehicles. So we’ve got a tremendous amount of demand for the vehicles. And we know there’s never truly been a successful start, even from the OEMs, where they just suddenly ramp up to 10s of 1000s of vehicles in the first year. So it’ll have to be some patients with that, I will tell you that our roadmap is we’ve got the 30 pack, which is a 30 kilowatt hour pack going to customers that we’re focused on currently, then its platform, then its vehicles. In between there, you’re gonna get energy storage and charging infrastructure deployed as well. Now, that’s what makes us different. Remember, I said it’s $2 billion to revenue. We are booking revenue and recognizing revenue this year. And we’ve already taken deposits for these things. So we’re building those products right now. Getting ready to start shipping those to customers.

Aaron Moncur 26:47
Wow, congratulations. That’s a big step. Yeah. One of the things that, that I saw mentioned in the videos that I watched and things I read was that the the x t, and let’s see, how do I say this? The the team was very intentional in pursuing function over form. And I wonder does does that infer that like, you know, kind of no attention was given to form? And how does the team make that decision?

Mark Hanchett 27:19
I think that’s a fair. That’s probably a fair question. So the truck is while we do focus on work, customers, it is for individual buyers, we’ve got a tremendous number of consumers that want it. And between those two markets, fleet buyers, sometimes they actually care how much what it looks like, but they they place like sort of ROI over looks. But your consumer buyers and your individual buyers, they care about what it looks like. What we mean is it has to look good, it has to be sexy, but we want to place an emphasis on functionalities over form. And what that means is we don’t put wood trim inside the truck. I think that’s a cost and expense that some customers love. And I don’t you know, want to knock them for that. But from our particular standpoint, we think there’s elegance and simplicity.

Aaron Moncur 28:09
Yeah, one of the things that I thought was really cool was how your team talked about reusing elements over and over in the design, not just designing things once. But designing things once and using it over and over, which is something that I can very much appreciate. Because it pipeline, pretty much everything we design is one off, it’s all custom. It’s hard to do that really hard to you know, continually be reinventing the wheel. So I thought it was really neat that you were able to design things once and then you use that design multiple times throughout the vehicle.

Mark Hanchett 28:43
Yeah, so this goes back to this concept of, you’re never going to be better than an OEM at manufacturing a vehicle if you build it like an OEM. So if we are going to disrupt this industry, from a manufacturing technology perspective, we have to take a look at the underlying technology that goes into the vehicle. And how do we do this in a much simpler way? So if you’ve got 80 Plus circuit boards or control modules in the vehicle, how do we bring that down to 36? And then of those 36? How do we get that down to maybe like four common modules that are inside there? We do the same thing in the drive train the suspension components, the interior components. And that’s not to say that it looks plain and simple. It’s purely just that we look at it and say, How can I engineer something once and use it multiple times to reduce my costs, reduce my time to market increase reliability, because the less you have to engineer, the less faults you have to deal with the greater the reliability of that particular system, right? It’s an n factorial number, right? So you have to think about it from that perspective. How do we do that that’ll drive our cost down that drives our value up and it drives our time down and everything else down like it’s it’s beautiful, but it has has to work. And so far we’ve been very successful and making all that stuff work. So we use common modules, common motors, common traction systems, brake systems, everything.

Aaron Moncur 30:10
Yeah, that seems like a very smart way about to go about it. What do you think that electric automotive technologies is thriving now, while other technologies like hydrogen have kind of gone by the wayside?

Mark Hanchett 30:24
So a lot of people focus on cost. And I will, I will argue that that is 100% true. The cost for hydrogen fueling infrastructure, the efficiency of it and things like it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t. The other side of it is, when you think about electrification, technically, the energy storage solution that’s inside there may and will change. But the propulsion mechanism doesn’t necessarily have to fundamentally change, right? It’s magnetism. So that investing in battery technology allows us to and we’ve, you know, demonstrated this already, this is what’s coming to market from us. If you look at why hydrogen, well, battery technology is already starting to leapfrog the why hydrogen argument, because they care about Phillip times and range. And we’re already starting to overcome that. So once you overcome that, it becomes a cost argument. And battery tech always wins the electric infrastructure today, what it looks like is not going to be able to look like tomorrow, but there’s innovations from companies like Atlas, in the energy infrastructure side of things, how do we create micro grids virtual grid solutions? How do we completely change that infrastructure? And that’s a much easier conversation to have, because it’s far reaching and and very deep in terms of the impact versus hydrogen that’s very isolated, in terms of the impact that that creates fragmentation. So when I think about it, it comes down to cost time simplicity. And how do we make deep impacts with common technology, battery technology in the vehicle is being applied everywhere else? And that’s what we’re doing at Atlas is how do we sort of go deep right and go broad with that build that infrastructure out with that technology applied across the board? And it just simplifies the argument?

Aaron Moncur 32:10
Is the energy density of your batteries different than, you know, the common Evie battery out there? Kid? Can you go further? I guess, what is the the range of the XD pickup?

Mark Hanchett 32:23
So so this is an interesting conversation, it’s 500 miles, maximum range should be 500 miles. And really good. It is really good. So when we talk about this, the traditional way to do this is build it, test it and see what happens. It’s not a good engineer, a good engineer sets a target and requirements, and then they hit the requirements. And they test to validate they hit the requirements, right? It’s not sort of like, hit it, you know, aim for a target, whatever happens happens. Great. That that’s, that’s why you don’t land on the moon doing that. So or I guess Mars would be the next one. So I look at it in terms of that’s the requirement, the energy density of the pack is what matters. The cell is competitive, that I’m not going to argue about that one, right? We can go higher and lower. We’re chemistry agnostic. But it’s how we it’s the pack energy density that actually matters. If you get a little lower cell energy density, but a much higher pack energy density, you win them. So. So we really focus on what we actually do is we design a cell for the pack, we don’t design a cell then design a pack around the cell.

Aaron Moncur 33:39
Okay. Yeah. So you’ve really taken this technology from the ground up, write your own? Yeah,

Mark Hanchett 33:44
yep. Absolutely.

Aaron Moncur 33:47
Well, Mark, what what would mark have today, say to mark of 2025 years ago, about being an engineer that you wish you had known back then?

Mark Hanchett 33:58
Well, I mean, fundamentally, I would say it’s worth it. But I would say, how about if I do it this way? What would I tell Mark? When did I graduate? 16 years ago, roughly? What would I tell Mark 16 years ago, that I now know today? And I would say 16 years ago? What I would say is you know absolutely nothing. And learn as much as you can.

Aaron Moncur 34:30
That’s great. We were just having a conversation earlier actually about a project that we’re doing where engineers right out of school, some of them not all, of course, but they think that they know everything, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Mark Hanchett 34:44
Yeah, yeah. It’s like you leave college and you’re like, Man, I’m a genius. You get to work and you realize, huh, maybe not, but I’m still I still got some confidence in me. You go five years in and you realize that I knew nothing.

Aaron Moncur 34:58
Yeah, I took Uh, three years of Japanese in high school, and then I ended up living in Japan for a little while and, and I had a little bit of training before it went beyond those three years in high school. But I thought to myself, yeah, I think I’m pretty good. I got this, you know, and then I landed in Japan, and oh, boy, I did not have that. I don’t know the language at all, I think. Yeah, it’s pretty similar for engineers graduating?

Mark Hanchett 35:24
Yeah, I would. And I would say that’s, that’s like a strength of mine being you know, CEO starting a company like this. I’ve got 10 years of experience. And I’ve worked on really hard problems, and really difficult situations. And that’s something I pride myself on, because I’m not sort of walking into this completely blind. Now, I will tell you, I knew nothing when I started this, and I’ve had to learn a lot. But having that experience in that background, it matters, right? Like you. Yeah, you know, even if you can or can’t apply it, but the first thing is, everyone’s gonna walk into something you don’t know. And my only advice to that is don’t quit. Even if you if you walk into something, you’re like, Man, I don’t know if I want to do this, just do it. Because at the end of whatever that thing is, you might realize, I learned something, or what I’m doing is really, really great. I can tell you, I’ve been thrown into programs in my career, where I walk in and I say, Why am I doing this? Because what I did before is not applicable to what I’m doing now. And this isn’t who I am. But I learned things. And I came out of it and said, Wow, like what I’m doing right now, I was not interested in angry about it. I love it. So always, you know, just whatever it is just do it. Give it a chance, work through the problem, learn something and apply it to the next thing you do.

Aaron Moncur 36:44
Great advice. Really great advice. Speaking of advice, I think that engineers really do make great business owners, we know how to think logically, we’re good with numbers. Do you have any advice that you could give to engineers who might be listening to this that are considering starting their own business?

Mark Hanchett 37:01
Ah, man, I would say okay. Here’s the advice, I’d give everyone. The ones you’ve already heard, just do it. Like Don’t overanalyze it, don’t wait for the right moment, don’t, because timing is everything, but you’re never going to know what the right timing is to start something. So just do it. And be prepared to fail. Now, the other piece of advice I’m gonna give anyone that wants to do this, but an engineer in particular, as an engineer sometimes looks at something and says, well, like tomorrow, it looks like I’m gonna run out of money. And all the data and the numbers, I’m gonna run out of money. So I should probably hang up my home, my, you know, my hat, right? And say, like, you know, put the coat on or whatever, put that on, walk out the door, whatever you want phrase you want us. You have to have the resilience to go, even when the data says you shouldn’t.

Aaron Moncur 38:00
Hmm, that’s very counterintuitive for an engineer.

Mark Hanchett 38:03
It is. This is not a like starting a business is something where resilience and persistence wins, sometimes over fear and the data, when it’s telling you, you shouldn’t do something, you will be like, if you based on data, you’re going to talk to 100 people, and they’re all going to tell you, you’re an idiot, and you shouldn’t do it. Because somebody else will think of it and they’re better off doing it than you you know, whatever it is. You have to be able to go forward even when nobody else can.

Aaron Moncur 38:38
I’ll add something to that statement. I think that persistence and tenacity also went out over smarts. You have to be intelligent enough, but you don’t need to be the smartest guy in the room, you know, top 1% People that are diligent. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But but if you’re, you know, intelligent enough, which, honestly, it doesn’t even need to be that high. But if you’re intelligent enough, and you have tenacity, you can just persevere and keep going. That I think is far more important than being super smart. And knowing all the answers.

Mark Hanchett 39:20
Yeah, it’s probably the ones of those of us that are the least intelligent are the ones that keep going. So I mean, there’s that. But But yeah, I mean, always. So always focus on bringing people on board that are so much better than you at the things that you are definitely not good at. And even the things you think you’re good at go find someone better than you that can do it better.

Aaron Moncur 39:41
Yeah, I was thinking to myself, what would I answer to that question? What What advice do you give to someone who wants to start a business? I think one of the things is be willing to pay good money, a lot of money for really good people. That’s not for me.

Mark Hanchett 39:55
Yeah, it’s it’s it’s fantastic advice. There He was another one. As I was thinking through that in terms of, you know, you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes, right? And I mentioned this earlier, like, just kind of keep going forward. But there’s, it’s this idea that if you’re going to start a business, you’re not going to know all the answers. And you’re going to have to think about that as you go. But as you continue to grow, you’re going to find people that know the answers better than you and they’ll make them faster, and realize that the people from day one are not the people that day. 100. But every time every other day after day one, you get better. Yeah,

Aaron Moncur 40:36
yeah. All right. Well said, Mark. Well, this has been just a wonderful discussion. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to share with me and all the listeners. Mark, how can people get in touch with you?

Mark Hanchett 40:50
So the best way would be to send an email to info at Atlas motor One of our people there will answer it, if it’s directed very specifically towards me, they’ll actually forward it to me and I will most likely answer that question.

Aaron Moncur 41:05
Excellent. And art for engineers who might be listening to this thinking to themselves? Wow, that sounds like a really cool place to work. Is that list hiring?

Mark Hanchett 41:13
Oh, yes, we’ve got openings for hardware software, mechanical engineers, manufacturing operations, you name it, we’ve got openings for all that stuff. You know, check out some of the the job openings on our careers page. If you want to join that list. That’s fun. The one thing I will say is, we look for people that are mission driven, not job driven. So if you come to Atlas, we’re looking for people that buy often the mission, because what’s in the job description may not be what you need to do tomorrow. It’s all about what we need to accomplish to move ourselves forward.

Aaron Moncur 41:44
Terrific. Terrific. All right. Well, Mark, thank you so much again, I really appreciate you being on the show.

Mark Hanchett 41:50
All right, thank you.

Aaron Moncur 41:55
I’m Aaron Moncur, founder of pipeline design, and engineering. If you liked what you heard today, please share the episode. To learn how your team can leverage our team’s expertise developing turnkey equipment, custom fixtures and automated machines and with product design, visit us at Team Thanks for listening

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About Being An Engineer

The Being An Engineer podcast is a repository for industry knowledge and a tool through which engineers learn about and connect with relevant companies, technologies, people resources, and opportunities. We feature successful mechanical engineers and interview engineers who are passionate about their work and who made a great impact on the engineering community.

The Being An Engineer podcast is brought to you by Pipeline Design & Engineering. Pipeline partners with medical & other device engineering teams who need turnkey equipment such as cycle test machines, custom test fixtures, automation equipment, assembly jigs, inspection stations and more. You can find us on the web at


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