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China’s CATL gets close to US’ traditional ‘Motor City’ in Detroit

CATL production facilities. Image: CATL.

CATL, a major Chinese manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, has just opened its first sales and service centre in North America.

Established in 2011, known as Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited, the company is best known for supplying batteries to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, but also makes battery cells, modules and boxed or containerised energy storage solutions for the stationary energy storage sector.

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CATL focuses on the R&D, design and manufacture of batteries, headquartered in Fujian, China, with offices in Asia, Europe and the Americas. The company has made the ascent from supplying 2.19GWh of batteries in 2015 to 11.84GWh worldwide in 2017.

The company said it has established several partnerships in the US ahead of opening its new facility, which will be in Detroit, America’s historic home of auto manufacturing. It’s CATL’s first North American sales and service facility and follows the opening of a Japanese subsidiary in May. The Detroit facility opening is a play to get geographically closer to the US electric vehicle markets. In July, the company signed an agreement to open its first European factory, in Thuringia, Germany, which will mostly supply devices to carmaker BMW.

“2017 was the best year yet for EV sales in the US and around the world. Recent surges in demand require greater innovation in the manufacture and supply of parts and services to support vehicle electrification. Our new Detroit subsidiary, our first in North America, will allow us to serve local needs. By locating close to our customers, we will be able to better understand their needs and improve our global supply chain,” CATL's North America general manager Allan Wang said.

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