As the NEV industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, power battery suppliers based in China have also been aggressively expanding into overseas markets and forming partnerships with automotive companies from other countries. CATL, for instance, has recently joined forces with a well-known Japanese carmaker. The establishment of this alliance came right after the Chinese battery supplier inked a strategic cooperation agreement with Vietnamese automotive brand VinFast in October.
On November 11, CATL announced through its official WeChat account that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Daihatsu. According to the memorandum, the two parties will cooperate in terms of power battery supply and battery technology. CATL will thus play an important role in the electrification of Japanese vehicles.
Established in 1951, Daihatsu is one of the oldest Japanese carmakers and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota. The company is based in Ikeda, a city in Japan’s Osaka Prefecture. As of 2021, Daihatsu had been operating in Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It mainly manufactures small cars (kei cars), min-SUVs, mini-trucks, three-wheeled vehicles, and off-road vehicles.
According to the memorandum, Daihatsu will be procuring CATL’s products and technologies, including battery management system and cell-to-pack solution. Both parties will leverage each other’s advantages so that Dahatsu’s vehicles will have full access to CATL’s advanced battery technologies.
Commenting on this partnership, CATL said it will assist Daihatsu in developing an electric vehicle business with respect to scaling up vehicle production and improving vehicle performance. Thus, Daihatsu will be able to offer high-quality and affordable electric vehicles in Japan and emerging markets. Furthermore, by working together, CATL and Daihatsu will accelerate the electrification of Japanese vehicles and thereby help push Japan towards its climate targets over the medium to long term.
The signing of the memorandum represents another major step in CATL’s global expansion. Through Daihatsu, CATL will be able to capture various opportunities in Japan and Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the Chinese battery supplier will be able to develop different kinds of models for business cooperation. Lastly, getting a well-known Japanese carmaker to focus on battery electric powertrain is also a major step in the global efforts to transition to e-mobility and meet emission-related targets.
Besides forming partnerships with automotive companies in other countries, CATL is building up its overseas production capacity. Presently, CATL has two overseas battery production plants that are respectively located in Germany and Hungary. Also, earlier this year, CATL disclosed that it is considering setting up shops in the US and Mexico.
CATL began setting up its first overseas battery production plant in the German city of Erfurt in 2018. The construction of this plant began in 2019, and the operational phase will start before the end of this year. In September of this year, CATL revealed that its second overseas battery production plant will land in an economic development zone near Debrecen, a city in Hungary. The second plant entails an investment of more than EUR 7 billion and is set to have a total production capacity of 100GWh per year. It will be used to supply batteries for vehicles under Mercedes-Benz and other European automotive brands.
This article is a translation of a Chinese article posted by Martin at TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain. Some Chinese names are transcribed into English using Hanyu Pinyin.