On October 18, 2019, one of the leading Chinese battery manufacturers - Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), has started construction of its first overseas battery manufacturing plant in Thuringia, east-central Germany.
The new plant was announced in 2018, after securing a major battery order from BMW, although the list of European automotive customers currently is much longer and includes also Volkswagen, Daimler, Volvo and Bosch.
CATL intends to reach a production capacity of 14 GWh of lithium-ion cells and modules annually in 2022.
Around 2024/2025, the facility should create up to 2,000 jobs, which suggests further expansion of production volume.
"This intelligent factory is designed and developed to root deeply in Europe and work closely with customers to provide clean and reliable power for electro mobility. After purchasing the former property from Solarworld, CATL starts a new stage of capacity expansion on 23 ha green field to achieve 14GWh 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, and up to 2,000 jobs will be created by 2024/2025."
"Local supply chain is another key element of successful production localization. The company will also identify and qualify local suppliers of materials, components, systems and services. This will indirectly create additional jobs and prospects in the region."
"Except for bringing cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technologies from China to Germany, CATL will also intensify its cooperation with local R&D institutes and universities, such as MEET, to extend the strong position in the industry."
Matthias Zentgraf, Co-president Europe CATL said:
"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."
"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."