The first European plant of the Chinese battery manufacturing company CATL, which also invests in Debrecen, was handed over on Thursday in Arnstadt, Germany.
Built with an investment of 1.8 billion euros in the province of Thuringia, located in the territory of the former GDR, the factory has an annual production capacity of 14 gigawatts, which is enough batteries for roughly 350,000 electric-powered passenger cars.
Provincial Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow told the public media at the ceremony about CATL’s much larger capacity plant planned for Debrecen: based on the expected rapid growth in demand, he considers it very right that the Chinese company appears in “our partner country, Hungary” after Thuringia, and makes an even bigger investment.
All this is not “competition with each other, but strengthening together”, the prime minister emphasized, adding that CATL’s factory in Arnstadt was built in such a way that “no chemical contamination” can occur in its environment.
In his speech at the ceremony organized to start production, Bodo Ramelow emphasized that CATL was the first to choose Thuringia in Europe and that it is a “consistent” step to build a factory in Hungary as well. Russia’s attack on Ukraine also showed that the field of energy is changing and more storage capacity is needed than ever before, explained the Die Linke (Left) politician to the left of the Social Democrats (SPD).
Economy Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, a politician from the SPD, underlined that the cooperation between CATL and Thuringia is a “success story” and represents a new way of cooperation in the history of German-Chinese economic relations, as it is not about the application of Western technology in China, but on the contrary, products based on Chinese technology are manufactured in Arnstadt, and the research and development activities will be carried out together.
Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund, a politician from the Green Party, emphasized that CATL’s factory is an important contribution to environmentally sustainable mobility and that the licensing procedures for its investment were completed in record time.
Thirty million lithium-ion battery cells – two per second – are produced at full capacity in the plant, which mainly serves German car manufacturers. The first pieces were manufactured last December, shortly before Christmas. Serial production will be started gradually. The plant employs approximately two thousand people.