Monday, 19 November, 2018

China's CATL to build electric vehicle battery plant in Germany

Kerching! Li Keqiang and Angela Merkel celebrate Germany China trade in Berlin Kerching! Li Keqiang and Angela Merkel celebrate Germany China trade in Berlin
Priscilla Morrison | 11 July, 2018, 23:14

The expansion is the German luxury carmaker's second this week in China, part of a parade of accords announced at a Berlin summit with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in attendance. Manufacturers in car-proud Germany have claimed technological leadership for decades, and are now fighting for their place in the emissions-free transport system of the future.

The 50-50 venture will make battery-powered vehicles for both partners at a new plant in Jiangsu Province, BMW said in a statement Tuesday. "Tariffs or an unstable political situation could become a problem", Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM), told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

"If we want to have a German battery cell industry, then this is a warning shot", said auto industry expert Joern Neuhausen of PwC consulting arm Strategy&.

The BMW Group and Great Wall Motor have signed a joint venture agreement to produce electric vehicles for Mini in China, under the company name Spotlight Automotive Limited.

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"It's good that it [the factory] doesn't go to eastern Europe instead", Dudenhöffer said.

The European Union has called batteries development and production "a strategic imperative for Europe in the context of the clean energy transition", and aims to create a competitive and sustainable battery manufacturing industry in Europe, with 10 to 20 gigafactories from 2025 onwards. CATL's initial investment in the new factory will total 240 million euros. Set to be put into operation in 2021 and provide 600 jobs for the local area, its capacity is expected to reach 14Gwh in 2020. "CATL is a very open company, whether it is German or not does not matter".

BMW has awarded a contract worth just over 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for CATL to make cells for electric cars, while Volkswagen has picked CATL and South Korea's Samsung and LG Chem to deliver $25 billion worth of batteries. It declined to say how much the boost will cost.

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