CATL plans to start building its planned battery cell factory for electric cars near Erfurt this autumn. According to Matthias Zentgraf, European head of the Chinese company, the ground-breaking ceremony could probably take place in mid or late September.
The exact date still depends on the granting of the corresponding environmental permits, Zentgraf said at the Automotive Thuringia industry conference. Last summer it was leaked that the Chinese battery group is planning a plant in Thuringia. At that time, production was said to start in 2021. The annual production was given as 14 GWh.
However, the original plans were quickly expanded. Initially, the headquarters in China wanted to invest around 240 million euros in the Erfurt plant by 2022. At the end of June, however, the board of directors decided to increase the investments to 1.8 billion euros – by a factor of 7.5. CATL has secured two areas of 35 hectares each in Erfurt, plus 17 hectares for a supplier park.
This did not come as a surprise: Zentgraf had already announced to in an interview in February that the announced capacity of 14 GWh per year for the first expansion stage would be far from sufficient: “Based on realistic planning, we assume – at a minimum calculation – a demand of 100 GWh in 2025,” Zentgraf said at the time.
With the significantly larger plant, CATL wants to participate in the upturn in the European EV sector. Many brands are changing their strategies – BMW, for example, recently announced its intention to achieve its electrical targets earlier than initially planned.
handelsblatt.com (In German)