CATL and Tesla launch cooperation to optimise charging times

CATL is working together with Tesla on new battery chemistries to enable faster charging of cells. The Chinese battery giant also sees great potential for reducing the costs of Tesla's upcoming compact model.

Image: CATL

CATL CEO Robin Zeng told Bloomberg. However, Zeng did not go into any further detail when he said that they were working together on battery technologies for faster charging. He only stated that they were researching “in particular on new electrochemical structures”, referring to the cell chemistry.

With a view to the compact model planned by Tesla for 25,000 US dollars, there is also “always room for cost reductions”. Zeng also confirmed that CATL is supplying machines to Tesla’s factory in Nevada, as reported.

What he did not confirm, however, are the reports that Tesla is on the verge of using CATL’s LMFP cells. These are LFP cells in which manganese is added to the cathode in addition to lithium and iron phosphate. This ensures a higher energy density than with pure LFP cells, but it remains below the energy density of NMC/NCA cell chemistries. However, they are also significantly cheaper than cells with nickel, cobalt and manganese.

The Bloomberg interview, which was apparently conducted in Hong Kong, also briefly touched on the topic of robotaxis. “If it’s for robotaxis, we don’t have to worry about the cost reduction for each cell as our batteries have a longer life cycle and so their average cost is actually lower,” says Zeng. He therefore believes that his company is well positioned in terms of the service life of such battery cells.

CATL is one of the most influential battery cell manufacturers in China and also outside of China. However, due to the strict subsidisation policy in the USA, CATL is practically excluded from the market. The company is therefore trying to participate indirectly in the US battery boom by licensing its technology and supplying production expertise (such as the machines at Tesla). Such a battery factory is also planned with Ford through a licence deal.

According to Zeng, CATL will also train Ford engineers for this purpose, for example at the company headquarters in Ningde or at the German CATL factory at Erfurter Kreuz. The planned Ford factory was announced with 35 GWh, but Ford itself announced in November that the plans had been reduced to 20 GWh, which Zeng has now also confirmed. According to Zeng, the plant is on track to start production by the end of 2026.

And the licence model could soon be doing the rounds: Talks are underway with around 10 to 20 other car manufacturers in the US and Europe about a similar agreement, he said.


about „CATL and Tesla launch cooperation to optimise charging times“

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