CATL $5 billion, 80-GWh Factory in the U.S. Will Supply Cells to BMW and Ford

After revealing its Choco-SEBs and rumors about a plant in the U.S., it seems that CATL has more concrete plans for its first factory in North America. According to Reuters, the Chinese giant is in the final stages of selecting the site in which that will happen. South Carolina and Kentucky are the most likely places to receive it.
CATL Factory 8 photos
Photo: CATL
The choice has a simple explanation: this factory will supply cells to BMW and Ford. The German company has a plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, while Ford has a manufacturing facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

According to Reuters, the idea is to put this new CATL factory to work by 2026. Bloomberg stated in March that the project was to build a massive $5 billion, 80-GWh plant. As BMW is already a client of the Chinese battery manufacturer, there is a great chance that the new cell factory will be in South Carolina. CATL’s first factory outside China will be in Germany precisely to supply batteries to BMW.

Spartanburg is 420 miles (676 kilometers) away from Louisville, which is not that much to ship cells, especially in the same country. Curiously, Chattanooga is just 262 miles (422 km) away from Spartanburg. That’s where Volkswagen has its American factory, which is also a potential client to the Chinese battery maker. The German carmaker already buys its cells in China, as well as Tesla. Giga Austin is 1,107 miles (1,782 km) away from Spartanburg.

CATL already has a facility in Glasgow, Kentucky. It bought the place in 2020, apparently already planning to have a cell factory there. The decision will probably depend on what each state will have to offer.

According to Reuters, the Chinese battery manufacturer plans to double its capacity by 2025. An article from CNEVPost said that this will represent 670 GWh, which will still represent a gap of 390 GWh due to high demand.

In 2021, CATL produced 170.39 GWh in cells. In the first quarter alone, it made 33.3 GWh in batteries. According to Bridget McCarthy, a financial analyst from Snow Capital, BYD has a capacity of 522 GWh, even if it uses most of it and sells just a part of it.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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