CATL breaks ground on German battery gigafactory

CATL breaks ground on German battery gigafactory

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) has started construction of a lithium ion batttery gigafactory in Arnstadt in Thuringia, east-central Germany.

This is the first overseas factory for the company and will produce 14gWh of battery capacity by 2022 to supply customers building electric vehicles. CATL has deals with BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Volvo, and Bosch. 

“Germany is home to a strong automotive industry and several of CATL’s key customers,” said Matthias Zentgraf, Co-president Europe for CATL. “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.” 

After purchasing the former property from Solarworld, CATL has broken ground on the 23 ha green field site to achieve the 14GWh battery production capacity 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. CATL staff have been been on site since June and up to 2,000 jobs will be created by 2024/2025.

Staff from CATL’s headquarters with exertise in battery technology, process and management will also support the development in Thuringia for a smooth start-up phase. ,

The local supply chain is another key element of successful production localization, so CATL plans to identify and qualify local suppliers of materials, components, systems and services. This will indirectly create additional jobs and prospects in the region.

“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,” added Zentgraf, “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.”

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