Battery maker CATL ramps up investment in German gigafab to €1.8 billion

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From pv magazine Germany.

Instead of a planned €240 million, Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) will invest up to €1.8 billion in its German battery factory over the next five years.

The new capital injection was announced in a stock exchange update by the Chinese company which said the move was agreed at the end of last month due to rising demand.

CATL aims to improve production and research and development capacity at the facility. The number of jobs created will also rise significantly as a result: CATL European head Matthias Zentgraf said instead of 600 employees, more than 2,000 could be hired in the medium term.

The manufacturer stated it has already completed the establishment of a project company for the factory, set up a project management team and carried out preliminary work including project research, planning and design.

Fast out of the blocks

CATL purchased the Solarworld site in Arnstadt, Thuringia, in May to produce battery cells there at a new facility.

Last summer CATL had announced its intention to invest around €240 million in a gigawatt battery cell production facility by 2022 which would create around 600 jobs. According to the company, the battery cells produced there would primarily be intended for European car manufacturers. BMW has already agreed on long-term cooperation with CATL to the tune of €4 billion.

The plans come at a time when the EU has stated its intent to establish a high quality, sustainable battery manufacturing industry on the continent in an attempt to prevent Chinese businesses replicating their dominance of the solar power market in energy storage.

India too is desperately trying to establish a domestic storage manufacturing industry to avoid being left behind.

By Petra Hannen