CATL wants to massively expand its production capacities for battery cells, to 230 GWh this year and to 1,200 GWh in 2025. In parallel, the Chinese battery manufacturer is aiming to expand to Japan, Indonesia, the USA and Europe.
The report came from the German business publication Handelsblatt on CATL’s plans. According to a chart in the publication, CATL wants to increase its production capacity between 2020 and 2025 in the following stages: 110 GWh (2020), 230 GWh (2021), 380 GWh (2022), 540 GWh (2023), 830 GWh (2024) and 1,200 GWh (2025).
So far, it is unclear whether the manufacturer achieved its 2020 targets. The most recent annual statistics are from 2019, a year in which the Chinese company reached 32.5 GWh. With that capacity, CATL topped the list of largest battery cell manufacturers in 2019, ahead of Japan’s Panasonic (28.1 GWh) and South Korea’s LG Chem (12.4 GWh). The group’s success is mainly due to its strong position in the domestic market. CATL’s market share there grew to more than 51 per cent in 2019.
However, there are indications that the particular economic conditions of the first half of 2020 have shaken up the balance of power in the already dynamic electric vehicle battery market. Figures from SNE Research revealed over the summer that South Korean electric vehicle battery manufacturers more than doubled their market share between January and July 2020. In general, the market shrank 16.8 per cent from 64.1 to 53.3 GWh of capacity in the Corona-induced tough first seven months of the year.
At CATL, the expansion of production capacity is to be accompanied by expansion to Japan, Indonesia, the USA and Europe, with Germany playing a key role in the European market. This is marked by the construction of CATL’s first production facility outside China, which has started in Erfurt. The ground was broken at the Germam building site in October 2019, with completion scheduled for 2022. The battery cells produced there will be supplied to BMW and Volkswagen, among others.
The Handelsblatt reports that of CATL’s 1,200 GWh in 2025, a total of 77 GWh is to go to Volkswagen, or nearly 6.5 per cent. In 2020, VW’s share was still around 2.2 per cent.