As electric vehicle sales soar, global battery suppliers are struggling to prepare for future demand. Tesla is very much aware of this impending battery bottleneck—over the past few years, it has diversified its supply chain, and lately, it’s been appealing to its suppliers to produce as much as possible.
One of those suppliers, Chinese battery manufacturer CATL, is planning a major new automotive battery plant in Shanghai as it sets “a blistering pace of expansion that will cement its lead as the world’s number-one supplier,” unnamed sources have told Reuters. No timeline has been revealed.
Tesla appears to be very much a part of CATL’s growth strategy. The Chinese battery builder began supplying cells for the California carmaker’s Model 3 in China last year. With a new production facility near Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory, CATL will be in a position to rapidly expand the relationship. A senior source at CATL told Reuters that the company aims to provide half of the battery cells Tesla uses globally, both for vehicles and energy storage products.
Above: An inside look at CATL (YouTube: New China TV)
The new Shanghai plant is expected to have a capacity of 80 GWh per year, enough to power some 800,000 EVs. CATL is said to have around 69 GWh in current production capacity and another 77.5 GWh under construction.
CATL is not the only battery maker that’s quickly ramping up production. LG Energy Solution has announced plans to invest more than $4.5 billion in its US battery production over the next four years.