China-based Li-ion battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) has begun construction of its first lithium-ion battery factory in Thuringia, a state in east-central Germany. CATL has developed partnerships with a number of European companies in the automobile industry including BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Volvo, and Bosch.
Germany is home to a strong automotive industry and several of CATL’s key customers. We believe that the combination of Germany’s industrial tradition and CATL’s tradition of innovative battery technology will greatly accelerate the electrification of the automotive industry in Europe.—Matthias Zentgraf, Co-president Europe CATL
This intelligent factory is designed and developed to root deeply in Europe and to work closely with customers to provide clean and reliable power for electro-mobility. After purchasing the property from Solarworld, CATL is starting a new stage of capacity expansion on 23 hectares to achieve 14 GWh production capacity of battery by 2022.
Production lines for both battery cells and modules will be finalized in this phase of expansion. To enable the highly efficient production, a comprehensive support team will be developed in Thuringia, including logistics, quality management, operations maintenance and local purchasing and development departments.
Experts from CATL’s headquarters in the fields of technology, process and management will also come and support in Thuringia for a smooth start-up phase. Since June this year, CATL has been on-site with the first employees; up to 2,000 jobs will be created by 2024/2025.
A local supply chain is another key element of successful production localization. The company will identify and qualify local suppliers of materials, components, systems and services. This will indirectly create additional jobs and prospects in the region.
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. And finally, thanks to the support from the Thuringian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the LEG Thuringia, we believe Thuringia’s manufacturing and R&D environment will contribute to CATL’s development.—Matthias Zentgraf
CATL will also intensify its cooperation with local R&D institutes and universities, such as MEET, to extend its strong position in the industry.