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The inside story of how CATL became the world’s largest electric-vehicle battery company

CATL's corporate headquarters in Ningde, China.
Where the world's battery decisions are made.
  • Akshat Rathi
By Akshat Rathi

Senior reporter

Ningde, ChinaPublished Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

CATL doesn’t have a 100-year track record of reliability like Panasonic; it isn’t based in a rich, developed country like LG Chem; and it isn’t backed by Warren Buffett like BYD. Regardless, in less than 10 years, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. has beaten its competitors to become the world’s largest maker of lithium-ion batteries.

When CATL listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange in 2018, it minted four new billionaires. The company supplies more than 40% of all batteries that go in electric vehicles in China, where more EVs are sold than the rest of the world combined. CATL is currently filling orders not just from Chinese carmakers but also from global brands like Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, and Honda.

Last month, CATL began construction on its fourth gigafactory, the company’s first outside of China. Located in Germany, the new plant will place CATL and Chinese technology right at the heart of German car manufacturing.

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