Monday, January 30, 2017

Finnish Automaker And Chinese Battery Giant Just Teamed Up To Take On The European EV Market

Via Business Insider:

A 22% share in the Finnish car manufacturer Valmet Automotive has been acquired by the Chinese battery giant CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited), Reuters reports.

In conjunction with the investment, CATL announced that it would be collaborating with Valmet Automotive in tackling the European electric car market, particularly in supplying batteries and drivetrain solutions, Reuters writes and quotes CATL's COO, Jia Zhou, in the press announcement:

"Our shared aim is to develop a strong position in the European electrical vehicles market".

That means yet another player on the European lithium ion battery market. Previously there were five competing bids for the market: A German battery factory is to be opened by BMC, LG Chem is planning a battery factory in Poland, Samsung wants to build one in Hungary, Tesla has its own plans for a European ‘gigafactory’, and finally the former CPO of Tesla is mounting a plan for a huge battery factory in Sweden.

A report made by the company behind the Swedish project, SGF Energy, estimated the European demand for lithium ion batteries by 2025 to be 110 gigawatt hours for the auto industry and 600 gigawatt hours in total. If such projections are in the vicinity of the turnout the market certainly has room for more than one actor.

CATL, on a global scale, has set an ambitious goal to produce 50 gigawatt hours a year by 2020, and tripled its production during the last year, according to Reuters. Other battery factories in the pipeline are estimated to have roughly the same or lower production capacities.

For Valmet Automotive the collaboration will likely mean a further boost in its current upswing in business. Over the last five years, the subcontractor car-manufacturer that’s been around since 1968 has seen its workforce grow from 700 to some 2.000 – with a further 1.000 expected to be hired by the third quarter. The expansion has been driven mostly by deals for producing two Mercedez models, but Valmet Automotive is also producing electric vehicles for Fisker.

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