After a first German plant, Chinese battery giant CATL is building a second, 100 GWh battery plant in Debrecen in the eastern part of Hungary to supply its European customers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis, and Volkswagen. Mercedes-Benz has an alliance with CATL initiated in 2020 and will be the first to use the cells for its next-generation models.
Covering an area of 221 hectares in the Southern Industrial Park of Debrecen, the CATL project will supply cells and modules to European automakers, the press release states. For production, electricity from renewable sources will be used, and the Chinese are considering developing solar power with local partners in the country.
Milestone in production capacity
For Mercedes-Benz, the deal with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) is another milestone in reaching a production capacity of more than 200 GWh at eight global production sites by the end of the decade.
In March this year, Mercedes acquired a third of the Automotive Cells Company (ACC) shares as an equal partner, a joint venture with Stellantis and Saft (TotalEnergies). ACC also announced that it would increase its output to 120-gigawatt hours per year across its entire production chain. The joint venture will build a third factory in Italy to meet that target.
ACC already has a plant running in Douvrin, France, and is constructing a second one in Kaiserslautern, Germany, which is scheduled for opening in 2023. ACC announced earlier that the factories would have an output of 24 GWh annually but has raised that objective to 40 GWh.
Standardized battery kit
Mercedes-Benz says it relies on a modular, highly standardized battery kit that allows the integration of battery cells and modules from different development partners through uniformly designed components and interfaces.
So, through the new plant in Hungary, CATL will provide battery cells for EV production at the European production sites of Mercedes-Benz in Germany and Hungary. The German carmaker will be the biggest client here.
Markus Schäfer, CTO responsible for development and procurement at Mercedes-Benz, said, “With CATL, we have a technology-leader as our partner to provide us – as the first and biggest customer of the new plant’s initial capacity – with top-notch CO2 neutral battery cells for our next generation EVs in Europe, hence following our local-to-local approach in procurement. We’re proud to see our Ambition 2039 supported by CATL’s commitment to CO2 neutral production in Hungary.”