BOCHUM — Contemporary Amperex Technology, one of China's largest suppliers of battery cells, is considering expanding its German plant to make it one of the largest in the world, amid higher expected demand for electric vehicles.
CATL is openly discussing whether to nearly double the size of its upcoming factory in Erfurt to provide 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of cell supply.
This would dwarf anything currently under discussion in Europe, and potentially in the rest of the world.
The EU's target for 2030 to cut CO2 fleet emissions from new cars by 37.5 percent by 2030 compared to 2021 and other factors that prompted automakers to plan for a higher, more aggressive, ramp-up of electric vehicles," said Matthias Zentgraf, President of CATL Europe.
"That’s why we've seen new RFQs (request for quotations)," he said on the sidelines of the annual CAR Symposium in Bochum.
Volkswagen Group has estimated it alone needs 150 GWh of cell supply by 2025 to sell a forecast 3 million battery-electric vehicles that year.
Under the previous plan, CATL Europe planned to invest 240 million euros for around 14 GWh of supply in a first phase. By the middle of the next decade hit it aimed to expand then to 50-60 GWh. The capacity can vary in part depending on the share of larger cell size formats produced.
Its new "dynamic capacity planning" foresees a gigawatt hour supply in the triple digits annually, requiring four fully loaded 40-foot containers leaving the plant on trucks every hour.
Zentgraf said the state government in Thuringia, in the economically depressed eastern half of Germany, was supporting the company.
Another option, he said, would be to possibly build up a second site elsewhere. CATL had scouted various sites in Europe, including one in Belgium and Hungary, before settling on Erfurt in part due to a more stable political environment and closer proximity to German automakers.