Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has broken ground on its German battery manufacturing plant— the first time the company has expanded beyond its China borders.
The company aims to make 14GWh of lithium-ion cells and modules a year by 2022— just four years after the deal was announced during talks in Berlin between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese premier Li Keqiang.
CATL is investing €1.8 billion ($2 billion) to build the electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Thüringen, with the east-central state stumping up $8 million in funding.
As well as bringing its lithium-ion battery technology expertise from China to Germany, CATL will also cooperate with German R&D institutes and universities, such as MEET.
Matthias Zentgraf, co-president Europe CATL said: “Thuringia is centrally located, enabling us to respond to customer requests in a timely fashion. And the availability of renewable energy, which already reaches almost 40% in the public network of Thuringia, is another important decision criterion.”
Last month, CATL announced it would be supplying German vehicle OEM Daimler with cells for its trucks.
The Chinese firm’s other clients include German vehicle makers BMW and Volkswagon, which ordered CATL’s lithium iron phosphate cells for use in commercial trucks that are due to be built in Brazil next year.