CATL Is Ready To Make Million-Mile Batteries For Electric Vehicles, Says Chinese Battery Giant's Chairman

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd.’s chairman and founder Zeng Yuqun disclosed that his company, which already manufactures batteries for Tesla Inc. TSLA and Volkswagen AG VWAGY is ready to make electric car batteries which will last as long as 16 years and 1.24 million miles.

Million Mile Battery Is A Key Advance

Batteries that last longer are important for electric vehicle makers such as Tesla and Volkswagen, as they can help them attract customers. These types of batteries could also be reused in a second vehicle increasing the attractiveness of EVs. Tesla is also working on this type of battery while cooperating with CATL.

Waiting For Orders

Talking to Bloomberg at the company headquarters at Ningde, China, Zeng disclosed, “If someone places an order, we are ready to produce.” He said that the costs of such long-lasting batteries would be 10% higher than those currently in use. CATL is the world’s largest maker of batteries. The company has a two-year battery supplier agreement with Tesla effective between July 2020 and June 2022.

EV Demand To Pick Up Pace

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting sales, but EV demand is expected to pick up pace in early 2021, according to Zeng. He expects pent-up demand to be unleashed next year. CATL’s batteries are used in Model 3 cars made by Tesla at its Shanghai Gigafactory. Other customers include Bayerische Motoren Werke AG BMWYY and Toyota Motor Corp. TM

Musk Is A Fun Guy

Zeng told Bloomberg he often shares text messages with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who he described as a “fun guy."

“He’s talking about cost all day long, and I’m making sure we have the solutions,” said the chairman. Zeng also revealed that he had helped Musk in securing ventilators for COVID-19 patients. Musk had delivered 1000 such machines, obtained from China, to Los Angeles in March.

May Build A Plant In The United States

CATL is building a factory in Germany that would make more than 70% of batteries required by BMW. The Chinese battery maker is also working with Volkswagen’s Audi and Porsche units. Zeng said although there are no specific plans for the U.S., he does not rule out building a plant in the country. He said, “Our team has made achievements in competing with our global rivals in overseas markets.”

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