Tesla battery supplier CATL plans to build a new production facility near Tesla’s Giga Shanghai electric vehicle production plant in China. The new facility will extend CATL’s lead as the world’s largest battery manufacturer and will also assist Tesla in its EV production efforts in China, where demand for the company’s electric vehicles continues to grow.
The facility will reportedly be located near Tesla’s Giga Shanghai production facility located in the Fengxian District, located about an hour and 10 minutes southeast of downtown Shanghai. The plant is likely to end up south of Giga Shanghai, and could include a Research, Global Sales, and Operations Center, as the company is having trouble retaining and hiring staff in Ningde, where the company’s headquareters are located, Reuters reported.
Tesla and CATL entered a partnership in early 2020 after Giga Shanghai first started the mass production of the Model 3. Tesla began delivering the Model 3 to Chinese citizens in January 2020, and the automaker entered a partnership with CATL just a month later, in early February.
Since then, CATL’s supply of lithium-ion EV batteries has helped Tesla attain the rank of the most popular electric automaker in China in 2020.
Now, CATL looks to further solidify its partnership with Tesla through a new facility that would help supply Giga Shanghai with additional battery cells. The partnership would help sustain the growth that Tesla has experienced through the past year in China. In 2020, Tesla was China’s most popular electric car company, leading the SAIC-GM-Wuling partnership that brought the highly affordable HongGuang Mini EV to the market.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the new plant would have a capacity of 80 gigawatt-hours per year. Analysts said that this would be capable of powering around 800,000 EVs annually.
The planned 80 GWh facility would supplement that already 69.1 GWh in current production and add to the additional 77.5 GWh under construction.
The reasoning for the Shanghai location does not only have to do with Tesla’s production facility. Sources also told Reuters that the company would have the ability to draw from a more diversified talent pool in the Shanghai region. This theory is compared to its headquarters in Ningde, a city in southeastern China. CATL plans to hire 5,000 workers who will assist in the manufacturing of cell-to-chassis (CTC) batteries.
This new technology would integrate EV cells directly onto the chassis of an electric car. According to CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun, the CTC tech is capable of reaching 500 miles (804.67 km) per charge, a considerable boost from the current 290 mile (468 km) range that Shanghai-built Model 3s currently get. The company plans to release the tech before 2030.
The new battery production plant would also supply other companies that have partnerships with CATL, like Volkswagen, GM, BMW, and Daimler, with EV batteries.