According to Reuters's exclusive report, based on unofficial sources, CATL plans to build a large EV battery plant in Shanghai. The location suggests that Tesla will be the main customer.

The manufacturing output will be 80 GWh of cells annually, which is more than CATL's 69.1 GWh currently installed capacity and 77.5 GWh under construction.

80 GWh is a big number, enough for 800,000 cars with 100 kWh battery packs or more if the packs are smaller.

CATL already is supplying batteries (the LFP chemistry) for Tesla EVs produced at the Tesla Giga Shanghai, which is expected to reach manufacturing capacity of up to 500,000 cars annually at some point in 2021. However, the main supplier was LG Chem's LG Energy Solution (NCM chemistry).

Reuters says that CATL would like to become the largest battery supplier to Tesla (bigger than the others combined), including energy storage systems:

"CATL hopes to rapidly expand that relationship, aiming to become its biggest supplier in the near future by providing half of the battery cells Tesla uses globally in electric vehicles and roof energy storage, said a senior source at the Chinese company."

One of the reasons behind the potential investment in Shanghai is "a larger and more diversified talent pool" than at CATL's headquarters in Ningde in southeastern China. Because of that, CATL might launch in Shanghai also a research center and a global sales and operational center.

There are no details about the timeline, chemistry or battery cell format, however the article clearly indicates manufacture cell-to-chassis (CTC) approach, similar to Tesla's structural packs with 4680 cylindrical cells.

"The plant is likely to be located south of Tesla's Shanghai factory in Lingang, Pudong New Area, said the second source, adding it will hire 5,000 workers and manufacture cell-to-chassis (CTC) batteries."

CTC would be one step further compared to the currently used cell-to-pack (CTP) with LFP cells.

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