Chinese lithium-ion battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is to open a production base in Europe, according to state media.
China’s Xinhua News Agency said CATL is “planning to build a new plant in Europe to meet the rising demand of the continent” for electric vehicle batteries.
Xinhua, which announced the move as part of an interview with CATL’s Europe region chief, Matthias Zentgraf, gave no details of where the plant might be sited or when construction would start.
Zentgraf did not comment directly on CATL’s Europe plans and he could not be contacted by BBB. But he told Xinhua CATL was looking to shift from the “focus on the Chinese market”— where the company has been producing batteries for the past 20 years.
Zentgraf said the European auto industry had seen “significant change” over the past year and was “shifting from conventional engines to electric ones”.
The percentage of electric cars in production in Europe will “increase sharply to roughly 25% in 2025”, Zentgraf said. “It’s the general trend and (moving to electric engines) will be only a matter of time.”
According to Zentgraf, CATL is now the third largest supplier of electric mobility batteries, with a global market share of more than 20%.
A CATL production facility in Europe would bring the company closer to its carmaker customers who include Volkswagen and BMW.
Earlier this year, China’s government said CATL would create two joint venture companies with domestic car manufacturer SAIC Motor to design, manufacture, and commercialise lithium-ion batteries and battery systems.
Meanwhile, Switzerland-based mining company Glencore has reportedly signed a deal to supply cobalt materials to CATL— who would in turn sell batteries for Volkswagen’s electric vehicles.