The rumour that battery cell manufacturer CATL wants to build a new factory in the immediate vicinity of the Tesla plant in Shanghai is confirmed. CATL has now officially announced that it has signed a framework agreement to this effect with the Shanghai municipal government.
No official details on the timetable and production capacity were given, as CATL only confirmed that it had signed “a strategic cooperation framework agreement with the Shanghai municipal government” to build “a high-end production base” via its WeChat account. As reported in June, an annual capacity of 80 GWh is planned.
The CATL plant is to be built in the Lin-gang Special Area, an industrial park operated by the Lingang Group. Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 is also located in the Lin-gang Special Area. This does not mean that CATL will supply Tesla directly from this plant, but it is very likely.
Especially since Tesla is already a customer of CATL in China: the LFP cells for the standard range versions of the Model 3 and Model Y built in China use cells from the Chinese manufacturer. However, it has not yet been confirmed whether CATL will produce LFP cells in the new factory – or whether it will rely on a different cell chemistry.
As recently revealed in import documents, the standard range models from Chinese production are soon due for a battery update. So far, the LFP battery in the MIC Model 3 Standard Range+ has an energy content of 55 kWh. According to the documents, specimens with 60 kWh will soon be imported into Europe, apparently from both the Model 3 and the Model Y. The Model 3 is said to have a WLTP range of 491 kilometres with the new 60 kWh battery, compared to 448 kilometres for the 55 kWh model so far. For the Model Y with LFP battery, a WLTP range of 455 kilometres is mentioned.
Currently, CATL is the only battery manufacturer supplying LFP cells to Tesla. This could possibly change, as Tesla is reportedly also testing BYD’s Blade battery. According to the rumours, this could be used in Tesla’s compact model developed in China.
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