CATL explores new EV battery services, to add capacity: chairman

A sign of Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is seen on its building in Ningde, Fujian province, China August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top electric vehicle (EV) battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is exploring new battery-related services and will expand manufacturing capacity in the next two years, its chairman told Reuters.

Ningde-based CATL, which alongside LG Chem and Panasonic is one of the biggest EV battery makers globally, is developing battery-swapping and battery maintenance services, its chairman Zeng Yuqun said on Wednesday.

It will also expand recycling capabilities in China and invest in similar businesses overseas, Zeng added in a written response to Reuters questions.

The firm, which has signed supply deals with Tesla Inc and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), expects to increase battery manufacturing capacity in the next two years, Zeng said.

It may target further overseas expansion based on customer demand, he added. The firm is currently building a plant in Germany.

Zeng said the firm will control costs to better manage the impact from the coronavirus pandemic. He did not offer details.

As the virus hit demand in China, the world’s biggest auto market, sales of new energy vehicles, which include battery electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, fell 43% in the first four months this year compared to a year earlier.

Reuters reported in February that Tesla is in advanced talks to use lithium iron phosphate batteries from CATL. Sources said this month Tesla and CATL are developing next generation batteries which would have significantly longer lifespans.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jan Harvey and Muralikumar Anantharaman