Porsche is apparently negotiating a supply contract for battery cells with CATL. The German sports car manufacturer and the Chinese battery specialist are “in good talks”, said Porsche development director Michael Steiner, who meets regularly with CATL management.
While Porsche’s parent company Volkswagen has already selected CATL as one of its main suppliers, Porsche is relying on cells from the South Korean manufacturer LG Chem in its first electric model Taycan, recently simultaneously presented in Germany, Canada and China. If CATL is added as a cell supplier, Porsche could be supplied from the planned battery plant in Erfurt.
Among the battery-making giants of Asia, CATL is presumably also hoping to gain a lead over competitors LG Chem, Panasonic and BYD. Panasonic, for example, enjoys a long-standing relationship with Tesla, and the Californian carmaker is apparently also sourcing batteries from South Korean company LG Chem for its new factory in China. BYD is apparently in negotiations with Porsche sister company Audi. Porsche R &D chief Michael Steiner said of CATL, “They are really catching up.”
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At the CATL plant in Erfurt, Porsche would be joining its German rival BMW who has already concluded an agreement with the Chinese company. Although Porsche is using a different battery supplier, the differently-sourced cells are to be installed in future electric models based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), which is being jointly developed by the two Volkswagen subsidiaries.
According to Bloomberg, with this cooperation, Porsche is hoping to be granted the same exemption from the ten per cent sales tax in China that was recently afforded Tesla. “We are working intensively with the Chinese authorities,” said Jens Puttfarcken, head of Porsche China. In this sense, the German sports car manufacturer and the Californians will have different advantages in approaching Chinese authorities: while the sports car manufacturer is building the Taycan exclusively in Zuffenhausen, Germany, Tesla will soon open their Gigafactory 3 near Shanghai. However, if this new deal between Porsche and CATL goes ahead, it would mean that Porsche had a Chinese cooperation partner, while Tesla, as mentioned above, sources battery cells from South Koreans LG Chem, albeit, in China.
However, the dependence on Asian companies for both North American and European companies has got carmakers on both continents worried. The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy just announced the second consortia of battery cell manufacturers too be selected for governmental and EU support. Across the Atlantic, there have been repeated rumours of Tesla producing its own battery cells, last fired by Musk during the conference call to announce the latest quarterly figures. Further details will be apparently be provided by the Californian company at a “Battery Day” this autumn. Despite Tesla’s now in-house battery research with Maxwell Technologies, they certainly wont be endangering their cooperations with their battery suppliers in Asia.