Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Limited (CATL), the Chinese battery manufacturer and technology company, has announced that it will invest €7.34bn into the construction of a 100GWh battery plant in Debrecen, in east Hungary.
In an announcement, CATL said that the battery plant would be its second in Europe, following its plant in Germany. It added that construction of the first production facilities will start within the year, subject to shareholder approval.
CATL to supply cells and modules to European automakers
The facilities will cover an area of 221 hectares in the Southern Industrial Park of Debrecen, and the project will supply both cells and modules to European automakers, the statement added.
“There is no doubt that our plant in Debrecen will enable us to further sharpen our competitive edge, better respond to our European customers, and accelerate the transition to e-mobility in Europe,” said Dr. Robin Zeng, founder and Chairman of CATL. “The greenfield project in Hungary will be a giant leap in CATL’s global expansion, and also an important step in our efforts to make an outstanding contribution to the green energy drive for humankind.”
Debrecen is centrally located in Europe and is in close proximity to the auto plants of some of CATL’s customers, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis and Volkswagen.
The plant will enable CATL to better cope with the battery demands of the European market, improve its global production network development, and help accelerate e-mobility and energy transition in Europe, the statement continued.
As part of its commitment to reducing the carbon footprint in battery manufacturing, CATL said that it will use electricity from renewable energies, and that it is considering developing solar power with local partners in the country.
Sustainable and Circular Value Chain
Furthermore, in order to build a sustainable and circular battery value chain, CATL added that it was also examining the possibility of joining forces with local partners to establish facilities for battery materials in Europe.
Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said: “Both the global and the European economies have been faced with tremendous challenges recently. We in Hungary have a clear goal to be a local exception from the continental recession.
“The best tool to achieve this goal is to attract state-of-the-art investments in the most revolutionary branch of the automotive industry, namely electromobility. We are proud that CATL decided to execute the biggest ever greenfield investment in the history of Hungary. We have recently become one of the leading battery production sites of the world and with this huge investment we further strengthen our position.”
The new project was also well received from CATL’s European customers. Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, CTO responsible for development and procurement, who said that the new state-of-the art European CATL plant in Hungary would be another milestone for the scale-up of Mercedes-Benz’s EV production, together with its key partners.
“With CATL we have a technology-leader as our partner to provide us - as the first and biggest customer of the new plant’s initial capacity - with top-notch CO2 neutral battery cells for our next generation EVs in Europe, hence following our local-to-local approach in procurement. We’re proud to see our Ambition 2039 supported by CATL’s commitment to CO2 neutral production in Hungary,” he concluded.