CATL likely to build US battery plant in Kentucky or South Carolina

Image: CATL

CATL is in the final phase of reviewing locations in the USA to produce battery cells for electric cars in the future. According to the report, two states are still in the running – and potential buyers of the battery cells have already been named.

According to Reuters, citing two unnamed sources, the Chinese battery cell manufacturer is in talks about plants that would supply BMW and Ford. Potential locations are the states of South Carolina and Kentucky, where the aforementioned carmakers have assembly plants.

The US carmaker Ford had already announced in September 2021 that it would convert its vehicle plant in Louisville, Kentucky, for the production of e-cars – vehicles of the Ford and Lincoln brands are manufactured there. Ford also wants to build a “Blue Oval SK Battery Park” there with its existing battery partner SK Innovation. The production of electric cars, as well as lithium-ion batteries, is scheduled to start in 2025. It is not known whether Ford needs battery cells for the Louisville plant beyond its own production.

BMW operates its only US plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Numerous SUV models are produced there for the global market, but no BEV model from Spartanburg has yet been confirmed. So far, BMW has only produced plug-in hybrids at most; the PHEV model XM is also to be built in Spartanburg.

In the case of the potential plant in South Carolina, the goal is for battery production to begin in 2026, according to Reuters. BMW is already a customer of CATL. There were already rumours in March that CATL was planning a large battery factory in North America. At the time, however, there was explicit talk of Mexico and Canada being in the running in addition to the USA. The news agency Bloomberg, which had reported on the considerations, even gave Mexico the favourite role.

What is clear is that the large North American plant would join a growing list of planned CATL battery factories. According to estimates from China, CATL’s installed production capacity could reach more than 670 GWh by 2025. By comparison, CATL produced cells with a volume of 170.39 GWh in 2021. (factory in the USA), (planned capacity 2025)


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