German automotive manufacturer Continental has confirmed plans to launch a battery production joint venture with China’s Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology (CITC).
Continental said the partnership is expected to start producing 48-volt mild hybrid lithium-ion battery systems in China, by the middle of this year, targeting the European, North American and Asian electric vehicle markets.
However, Continental stressed it was “still considering production of solid-state battery cells— a move mooted by CEO Dr Elmar Degenhart last year.
Degenhart said the deal with CITC opened a gate to the Chinese market, adding: “Entering the 48-volt battery systems business is a strategically important step for Continental, and one that will further strengthen our position as a system provider on the fast-growing mild hybrid market.”
Continental will have a majority 60% stake in the venture to CITC’s 40%. The new company will be established through Continental’s Chinese subsidiary and CITC subsidiary the China Aviation Lithium Battery (CALB) and based in Changzhou, on China’s east-coast Jiangsu Province.
Under the terms of the partnership, CALB will provide lithium-ion cells, while Continental will provide battery management systems.
CITC chief Xiaoqing Shi (right) said partnering with the German firm would “enhance its position for high-power lithium ion batteries’ global market expansion”.
BBB reported last year that CITC had signed a framework agreement on a joint venture for lithium-ion battery technology with another German enterprise, ElringKlinger.