The German energy storage specialist Hoppecke has signed a Europe-wide partnership agreement with China’s battery cell manufacturer CATL. On behalf of CATL, Hoppecke is responsible for testing, repairing and replacing the lithium-ion batteries installed in electric vehicles.
CATL is increasingly focusing on the European market and is investing massively in plants, research and development, logistics and the development of supply chains. The best-known project is the construction of a battery cell factory at Erfurter Kreuz in Germany. In future, the Chinese group will also rely on know-how from Germany for after-sales service: At the beginning of the new partnership, the medium-sized company Hoppecke will concentrate on services for commercially used vehicles in Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Hungary.
The family-owned company based in the Sauerland region has around 2,000 employees and 23 subsidiaries. Hoppecke is itself a battery system manufacturer through its subsidiary Intilion, founded in 2019, focusing on railway and metro applications, commercial and large storage facilities and industrial trucks.
Since 2005, the company has also been bundling battery service activities under the umbrella of Hoppecke Service GmbH & Co. KG. Specifically, the Sauerland company offers service solutions for lead-acid, FNC (nickel fibre structure) and lithium-ion storage systems. The portfolio includes classic maintenance and repair services as well as analysis, consulting, training and rental models. It also offers remote services, operator and pay-per-use business models.
With more than 300 service technicians in Europe, Hoppecke states in a press release that the company is ideally positioned for the needs of CATL in terms of European presence and experience. The safe handling of defective lithium batteries and work on high-voltage systems is sensitive and requires a lot of experience. On behalf of CATL, the technicians will in future help workshops to make reliable diagnoses and carry out subsequent repairs.
“The contract with CATL is confirmation of our strategy of positioning ourselves as manufacturer-independent energy storage experts for all battery technologies and a wide range of applications,” says service manager Kai Köllermann. At the same time, the partnership is an incentive to consistently develop the Hoppecke service. “When other market players gave up the service business in recent years, we continuously expanded our service network in Europe. CATL is looking for partners who can keep up with the rapid growth and who share the same customer-oriented philosophy.”
While CATL will benefit from the existing network of the medium-sized company, Hoppecke conversely gains, among other things, an important strategic partner for the procurement of high-quality lithium-ion cells for the battery system business of the subsidiary Intilion. In the course of the new cooperation, Hoppecke also announces that he intends to considerably expand his service location at Intilion in Zwickau and to use the direct link to the lithium system assembly and development teams for his service purposes. The former R&D location in Zwickau has now developed into a competence and value-added centre for lithium-ion technology with around 100 employees, according to the company’s headquarters. In addition to Zwickau, Intilion GmbH also has branches in Paderborn and China.
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