The Chinese battery cell manufacturer CATL has started production at its largest plant to date in Fuding near Ningde in Fujian province, which is to offer an annual capacity of 120 GWh when completed. The first phase, which has now started, is said to have a capacity of 60 GWh per year.
The Fuding plant is CATL’s largest single project to date. To illustrate the scale: This battery factory alone has a planned capacity almost equal to the total installed capacity of all battery cell manufacturers in China in the first eleven months of 2021 – which was 128.3 GWh. According to current battery prices, 120 GWh would have a production value of over 100 billion yuan, or just under 14 billion euros.
CATL had announced a new plant in Ningde in February 2020, which it said at the time would be completed within two years. The planned production capacity of the plant, which will cost up to 10 billion yuan (about 1.3 billion euros at the time), was not mentioned in 2020.
However, construction did not start until this year, Liu Henghua, operational manager of the project, said, according to a report in the Fujian Daily. “With the support of government departments at all levels, Fuding CATL took about 330 days from the piling of the plant to the commissioning of the first production line, achieving the start of construction to commissioning in the same year,” Liu said.
It is not clear from the reports how quickly full utilisation of the 60 GWh of the first phase will be achieved. According to the report, the first phase will include four cell plants, three module assemblies and “supporting facilities” such as warehouses and dormitories. The plant is expected to create a total of about 10,000 jobs.
In addition, on 19 December, CATL broke ground for the construction of another production facility in Xiamen in Fujian Province, which is to be completed in December 2024 with a capacity of around 20 GWh.
The company – like virtually all cell manufacturers – is on a huge expansion course. According to figures from the China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance (CABIA), CATL had an installed production capacity of 11.45 GWh in China in November, giving it a market share of 55 per cent. However, the company has already announced its own plants and production facilities of joint ventures with carmakers, which add up to 600 GWh.
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