China CATL plans 2020 battery factory that is almost as big as Tesla Gigafactory

Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) already sells the most batteries to the biggest electric-vehicle makers in the biggest EV market: China. They plan to use money from a pending initial public offering backed by Goldman Sachs to provide batteries to EV makers in Europe and the USA.

The company plans to raise 13.1 billion yuan (US$2 billion) as soon as this year by selling a 10 percent stake, at a valuation of about US$20 billion. The share sale would finance construction of a battery-cell plant second in size only to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada.

The new factory would boost CATL’s battery production by five times. It would become the world’s largest electric-vehicle battery cell manufacturer, ahead of Tesla, Warren Buffett-backed BYD in China and South Korea’s LG Chem, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The factory could go fully online as soon as 2020.

CATL reaps further benefits from an aggressive government policy to acquire the minerals needed for battery makers. China is securing supplies of key materials such as lithium, nickel and rare earths, and its mining companies are estimated to be responsible for 62 per cent of the global supply of cobalt, the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said in a January report.