CATL already has small battery supply contracts with Volkswagen and BMW, nonetheless this battery cell maker wants more. The Chinese battery cell maker wants to become the main supplier of some European automakers, such as BMW and Volkswagen.
In two recent press releases, regarding its presence at the 67th IAA, in Frankfurt, Germany, CATL made some interesting statements:
“Currently, CATL is competing with several battery suppliers for new VW MEB electric vehicle platform.”
With the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB), Volkswagen expects to become the e-mobility global leader, nevertheless the battery cell supplier isn’t chosen yet and that’s why CATL is trying hard to seal the deal. CATL predicts that it will be able to produce 50 GWh worth of battery cells by 2020.
Furthermore, CATL also expects to convince other European automakers to chose its battery cells and that’s why it’ll open offices not only in Germany – to target BMW and Volkswagen -, but also in France – to lure Renault and PSA.
“At this great auto show, CATL also announced its new plan of opening a new branch office in Paris, France, which will be launched at late September or early October. By opening offices in Munich, Berlin, Wolfsburg, as well as the new branch in Paris, CATL keeps developing global footprint and has already set up its world-wide network for understanding local market and offering local service to international clients.”
While other big Chinese battery cell makers, such as BYD or Lishen disappoint in the energy density field, the same can’t be said about CATL.
Anyway, it seems that some of the figures available at CATL’s website are outdated, considering that the company now says to have battery cells with an energy density of 270 Wh/kg, which make them cutting-edge technology.
“In addition, CATL will be featuring its five technologies at the booth. These include solutions which fulfill different requirements that automotive manufacturers (OEMs) have voiced, e.g. battery modules that can be fully charged in about 10 minutes (EnerSpeedy) or which come with an extra-long battery life-span(EnerDura) which is as long as 15 years or 15,000 cycles. Moreover, CATL’s EnerMagic batteries distinguish themselves by having the highest available energy density of all CATL cells, up to 270Wh/kg. The EnerClimate modules are IP68 qualified and feature a high level of resistance to dust and water, whereas EnerLasting is the most robust of CATL’s five technologies. Taken together, they are the solutions of choice for a number of renowned OEMs globally.”
To sum up, CATL seems to be the most immediate threat to the privileged relation that South Korean battery cell makers have with European automakers. Furthermore, there is an effort by the European Commission to establish an Airbus-style consortium for battery production in Europe by European companies (including automakers). I won’t be surprised if the German BASF – the largest chemical producer in the world – transforms itself to become a leading battery cell maker in a not so distant future, since it has the resources and knowledge that are needed.