After a long period filled with rumors of an impending partnership, Tesla and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd. (CATL) have officially signed an agreement for Giga Shanghai’s battery cell supply.
The two companies’ recently-signed deal is currently set for two years, according to Reuters. Tesla will ultimately decide how many batteries it will purchase between July 2020 and June 2022. This will likely depend on the battery needs of the company as it ramps Model 3 and Model Y production locally.
Tesla had previously announced its partnership with CATL, albeit informally. The company stated that they had come to an agreement with two suppliers for China, CATL and LG Chem, which has a facility close to Giga Shanghai. Panasonic, Tesla’s long-term battery partner, will not be contributing its resources for Giga Shanghai’s operations, at least for now.
Giga Shanghai is already operational, and local deliveries of the Made-in-China Model 3 have begun. The company held initial deliveries at an event in Giga Shanghai on December 30, 2019, and this was followed by customer deliveries soon after. During the handover ceremony for local customers, Elon Musk announced the launch of Tesla’s Model Y program in China as well.
Tesla is planning to make a big impact in China’s auto market with Giga Shanghai. The country hosts the largest automobile market in the world, with around 28 million cars bought locally in 2018. This is a far cry compared to the United States’ 17.27 million vehicles.
Tesla has introduced several updates to its strategy in China, such as reducing the price of its vehicles to make them more competitive in the market. CEO Elon Musk has also noted that Tesla was able to cut its operating costs by removing tariffs, purchase tax exemption, local cost supply, and getting rid of the need to export the vehicles from the US to China. Tesla believes that the company will be able to completely localize its supply chain for Chinese production by the end of 2020 as well.
Giga Shanghai is currently producing at a run rate of 3,000 Model 3s a week. Eventually, the company plans to boost the plant’s production rate to 500,000 vehicles a year. The addition of new battery manufacturers will help Tesla ramp this production rate to its eventual goals. With demand increasing in the world’s largest car market, Tesla is poised to make a strong presence in China with more than ample growth in 2020.