CATL’s battery plant in Germany, its first outside China, receives approval to produce 8 GWh per year

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Battery manufacturing giant CATL has announced that its upcoming plant in Thuringia, Germany has received a second partial approval for cell production. This milestone brings the Chinese company closer to opening its first battery manufacturing facility outside of China later this year.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd., better known as CATL, is a global energy technology company and China’s leading electric vehicle battery manufacturer. Its extensive presence in the battery world has helped cement its reign as the world’s largest in terms of installed battery capacity for a fifth consecutive year.

The company recently made efforts to build more sustainability into the battery manufacturing process, announcing a new $5 billion recycling facility as well as a zero-carbon factory in China. Despite these new facilities to support its goal of global carbon neutrality, CATL has yet to expand outside of its China home…at least for now.

In 2019, CATL inaugurated a new battery manufacturing facility in Thuringia, Germany, which will be known as Contemporary Amperex Technology Thuringia GmbH (CATT). The plant is expected to start production of battery cells before the end of the year and is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs in the German state.

However, there are still some paperwork and dotted lines to sign before CATL can start manufacturing batteries in Germany. But with today’s news, the company is getting closer and closer.

Thuringia’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation, Anja Siegesmund, hands over the permit to Matthias Zentgraf, CATL President for Europe / Source: CATL

CATL approved for battery cell production in Germany

The battery maker made the latest announcement today in a press release from Germany, marking progress in its European expansion despite the woes of the pandemic. Matthias Zentgraf, CATL President for Europe, spoke about the 2nd partial approval in Germany:

CATT is giving fundamental impetus to the energy transition that we urgently need, and we are happy to be the first company to receive the authorization to manufacture batteries “Made in Germany”.

In addition to being CATL’s first battery manufacturing plant outside of China, CATT will also be the first to arrive in Germany. German ministers like Wolfgang Tiefensee hope this initial footprint can lead to further expansion in the state and more battery makers calling Germany:

For Thuringia, CATT is one of the most important industrial investments of recent decades. At the same time, the project could be the initial spark for the emergence of a “Battery Valley Thuringia”, as the first group of CATL supplier companies settled in the region.

CATT’s initial footprint will consist of two buildings – G1, an existing building CATL purchased from another company where battery cells are assembled into modules, and G2 – a new factory built by CATT where the cells will be produced. The latest press release approval relates to a successfully issued permit for the production of G2 cells.

To further promote sustainability, the CATT plant will generate some of its electricity from solar panels installed on its roof. CATL has announced that it will invest a total of €1.8 billion (~$1.96 billion) in the German plant, with the aim of eventually reaching 14 GWh of annual battery capacity and creating more than 2,000 jobs.

CATL’s battery cell production in Germany is expected to start before the end of 2022.

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