ARNSTADT, Germany (Reuters) – Chinese battery giant CATL (300750.SZ) has put down roots near the small town of Arnstadt in central Germany, leaving Germany’s future ties uncertain. Despite this, the company is expanding production of battery cells. China.
The Arnstadt plant will deliver the first sample cells to customers in December and aims to bring six production lines into operation this year.
At full capacity, the 14 gigawatt hour (GWh) factory can produce 30 million cells per year. That’s enough to power about 350,000 electric vehicles with a 40 kWh battery. CATL will receive approval in June to increase its capacity to 24 GWh.
For now, most of the materials used are imported from China. This is partly due to CATL’s long-term relationships with Chinese suppliers. But some Chinese suppliers have set up shop near the Arnstadt plant in Europe, Matthias Zentgraf, CATL’s president for Europe, said in an interview.
Longer term, battery makers want to localize their supply chains more, and later this year they are starting to build relationships with supplier conferences in Weimar, about a 30-minute drive away, Zentgraf said. Stated.
CATL will become Europe’s largest battery manufacturer once its planned 100 GWh plant in Hungary is fully operational. Construction is set to begin later this year, with production expected to begin in two to three years, Zentgraf said.
“We are just getting started. Longer term, we will reassess our supply relationships once volumes increase,” he said.
Data show that about 44% of Europe’s planned battery capacity by 2030 will come from Asian companies, with CATL topping the list and overly relying on foreign producers for critical technology. It is causing concern in the political world that there may be
Such concerns are particularly prevalent in Germany, where the German government is formulating a strategy against China aimed at reducing its economic dependence on China, currently its largest trading partner.
Zentgraf said he “doesn’t like” the strategy under development, echoing others in the auto industry who fear the tone of the strategy will strain relations with China.
“On a personal level, it doesn’t do us any good, but despite the uncertainty of the political climate, we continue our day-to-day work and try to have as little impact as possible.”
($1 = 0.9184 Euro)
Reported by Victoria Waldersee, written by Miranda Murray. Edited by Madeline Chambers and Mark Potter
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