Another very large EV-related investment emerged on the horizon in North America, as CATL reportedly seeks a site for a battery gigafactory.
According to Bloomberg‘s unofficial sources, the Chinese company might invest $5 billion to build a new, massive factory with an output of 80 GWh of battery cells per year. Such a big plant would need some 10,000 workers, said people familiar with the matter.
80 GWh/year is enough to produce 1 million 80 kWh battery packs.
The report says that when it comes to location, three countries are under consideration: US, Canada and Mexico. Not only that. CATL’s executives flew to Mexico in March, which would mean that they are seriously interested. There is no official info from CATL.
According to the article, the new plant would be ready to produce various batteries – LFP as well as high-nickel ones, like NCM – for various customers (potentially including Tesla). CATL already supplies batteries for Tesla (LFP-type for the entry-level Model 3/Model Y).
CATL is the world’s largest EV battery manufacturer. Adamas Intelligence reports that CATL’s share in 2021 was 30.7% in the xEVs (BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs) passenger car segment.
However, while the company’s position in China is dominant, it’s not as big outside China. This is why investments outside China sound reasonable.
BloombergNEF says that CATL has about 145 GWh/year of battery manufacturing capacity. By 2026, the company would like to add an additional 579 GWh in annual battery manufacturing capacity.
It will be very interesting to see whether the rumor about the gigafactory is correct and where CATL will decide to build the plant. Bloomberg noted that a local production site will be “crucial” from the trade tariffs perspective:
“A manufacturing footprint in North America will be crucial for Ningde, Fujian-based CATL to avoid costly trade tariffs while supplying Tesla and other automakers.”
Other large EV battery manufacturers, like LG Chem’s LG Energy Solution, Panasonic, SK Innovation’s SK On, Samsung SDI also are investing in new battery plants in North America or are searching for new sites, according to recent reports.