CATL is evaluating the expansion of its EVOGO battery swap product into Europe and considering building a third factory there, latest reports say.
(Image credit: CATL)
Chinese power battery giant CATL is reportedly considering deploying its battery swap business outside of China and building a third factory in Europe.
CATL is evaluating expanding its battery swap products to Europe, CNBC Thursday quoted Li Xiaoning, executive president of overseas commercial application at CATL, as saying.
"We will step by step check the overseas footprint of EVOGO," Li said.
EVOGO is CATL's battery swap brand, unveiled on January 22, which aims to provide easy-to-replace standardized battery blocks for electric vehicles to enable fast replenishment.
The first vehicle to support EVOGO's battery swap is the NAT (Next Automatic Taxi) model from China FAW's Bestune brand.
EVOGO's battery swap service was officially launched on April 18, with Xiamen, Fujian province in southeastern China being the first city to see the service available, and on June 18, Hefei, Anhui province in eastern China became the second city to see the service available.
"We are starting to evaluate the potential cooperation with many partners. We need to understand the detail in practice," Li said, according to CNBC. "There are many things we consider. Product technology is one thing, another is the business case, the regulation, the local rules, and also other factors we need to think of as well."
If CATL expands overseas, it could help foreign automakers offer battery swap services to their customers without having to build their own expensive infrastructure, the CNBC report noted.
The most significant player in the battery swap space is NIO, which as of now has 1,123 battery swap stations in China. The company aims to have 4,000 battery swap stations worldwide by 2025, with 1,000 of them located in overseas markets.
Separately, Bloomberg on Thursday quoted Matthias Zentgraf, president of CATL's European region, as saying the company is considering building a third plant in Europe.
"We are thinking about this, but currently there is no clear decision or activity," Zentgraf said, adding that internal discussions are already under way.
"We will not build a third plant if there is no prospect for the demand volume," Zentgraf said in a video call from the IAA Transport conference in Hanover, Germany, according to Bloomberg.
CATL's first overseas plant in Thuringia, Germany, received a license to produce battery cells on April 4, and construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, with production scheduled for the end of 2022.
On August 12, CATL announced that it will build a new battery production site in Hungary, which will be its second plant in Europe and will produce cells and modules for European automakers.
CATL signed a pre-purchase land agreement with the Hungarian city of Debrecen on September 5, marking the official launch of its factory project in the country.
CATL is the world's largest power battery maker, with a 34.7 percent share from January to July, continuing to rank No. 1 globally, according to Seoul-based SNE Research.
NIO exec sees CATL's EVOGO brand launch as endorsement of battery swap model