CATL is in the final stages of reviewing locations for EV battery production in the US, Reuters reported.

CATL said to be in talks to open US plants serving BMW and Ford-CnEVPost

(Image credit: CATL)

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL, SHE: 300750) is in the final stages of reviewing locations for electric vehicle (EV) battery production in the US, an investment that would mark its first production in the world’s second-largest car market, Reuters reported today.

CATL is in talks to open plants that would serve BMW and Ford, with potential sites including South Carolina and Kentucky, where the automakers have assembly plants, the report said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

In the case of the potential South Carolina plant, it aims to start battery production in 2026, the report said. BMW is already a customer of CATL.

BMW said in a statement that it was intensively examining the possibility of establishing a battery factory in North America and buying battery materials in the region, according to the report.

"We are in talks with several partners about this," BMW said, according to Reuters.

Ford, which announced plans last September to build two battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky, jointly owned with SK, declined to comment, the report noted.

CATL bought a plant in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 2020, and documents from a June 2020 meeting with Kentucky economic development officials show the battery maker was considering building a plant there, according to the report.

The report echoes information revealed by CATL in an online exchange with investors yesterday.

CATL has explored various possible supply and partnership options with US customers, as well as the possibility of localized production, company founder and chairman Robin Zeng said yesterday during a conference on its 2021 results.

But as for the specifics of that plan, the impact of worker training, efficiency, unions and other factors on quality and costs will need to be taken into account, Zeng said.

On March 19, Bloomberg reported that CATL was considering sites across North America for a major $5 billion plant to supply customers, including Tesla.

CATL aims to build a plant capable of producing up to 80 GWh of batteries a year, the Bloomberg report said, citing people familiar with the matter, adding that the plant would eventually employ up to 10,000 workers.

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