Rumors have circulated that CATL, China’s top power battery manufacturer, faced opposition from Hungarian locals over environmental concerns and that the construction of its second European factory has been halted. On March 29, the company denied these claims and confirmed that the Hungarian factory is progressing as scheduled without any delays.
In August 2022, CATL announced plans to build a battery factory in Debrecen, eastern Hungary. On September 5th of the same year, it officially signed a pre-purchase agreement for the land. At the signing ceremony, Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that this was one of Europe’s five largest “greenfield investments” (new investments) over the past decade and also Hungary’s largest new investment project in history.
The CATL plant covers an area of 221 hectares in the Southern Industrial Park of Debrecen. The first building began construction in 2022 with a total investment amounting to 7.34 billion euros ($7.96 billion), planning for a battery production capacity of up to 100 GWh.
CATL had previously built its first European factory in Germany which began production at the beginning of January 2023. According to Robin Zeng, Chairman of CATL: “We chose Germany as our first investment target because we want to bring the world’s most advanced power battery technology into Germany. By establishing localized power battery supply capabilities in Europe, we can better meet customer needs and provide more timely effective product solutions.”
As lithium-ion batteries continue their shift towards international markets, more Chinese companies are starting overseas production layouts such as EVE Energy, Gotion Hi-Tech, Envision AESC, Farasis Energy, CALB, SVOLT, and others.
In addition, industrial companies such as SEMCORP, GEM, and Shenzhen Kedali Industry are also strengthening their proximity to major customers to ensure market competitiveness.
Going overseas is a trend for battery companies. While China’s power battery industry is embracing opportunities for overseas projects or exports, it also faces a series of challenges such as policies, environment, and site selection when implementing these projects abroad.