CATL to build a Gigafactory – soon big enough to dwarf Tesla?

CATL is speeding up its expansion and wants to build a new Gigafactory by 2020. It would be second only to Tesla’s in size. Construction however can only start if CATL manages to collect 2bn dollars by selling shares before this year’s end.

Even in German, companies such as CATL are called hidden champions – SMEs that aim for world domination to use a big word.

In the case of China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., short CATL, this rise is accelerating. News continue to hit the desks, speaking of the battery maker winning over clients like BMW and most recently Daimler and Volkswagen and potentially Aston Martin as of today.

They all race to secure supply of batteries for their upcoming electric cars and CATL promises to deliver. In order to do so, a battery facility is planned that shall churn out 24 GWh a year. This Gigafcatory would be second in size only to Tesla’s and Panasonic’s facility in Nevada.

But first, CATL needs to raise 13.1 billion yuan (2 billion dollars) this year by selling a 10 percent stake, at a valuation of about 20 billion dollars. The share sale would finance the construction that aims for completion by 2020.

The factory is to stand at CATL’s headquarters in the Chinese city of Ningde. The city is surrounded by mountains in South East China, a region formerly known for growing tea.

In the battery-electric future, the new assembly lines would increase CATL’s production capability fivefold and establish it as the world’s biggest electric-vehicle battery cell manufacturer, ahead of Tesla, BYD South Korea’s LG Chem, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In China, the company’s lithium-ion batteries will be inside locally made EVs from Volkswagen, BMW, and Hyundai as well as Toyota. Honda and Nissan are also considering CATL batteries for planned China-made vehicles. Domestic companies using the batteries include BAIC and bus maker Zhengzhou Yutong Group.

CATL’s outlook though is way beyond China. Offices have been set up in Berlin and Munich reportedly and Bloomberg said that CATL is also in talks with Detroit where a regional office may serve as a a node to tie the knot with the U.S. car industry.


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