Chinese battery maker CATL has announced an investment of $7.6 billion in building Europe’s largest battery plant in Hungary.
The world’s biggest electric vehicle battery maker gears up to meet growing demand from global automakers.
CATL said that construction of the 100 GWh (gigawatt hours) plant in the eastern Hungarian city of Debrecen, its biggest overseas investment, would start this year after receiving approvals, and should last no more than 64 months.
Once built, it is set to be Europe’s largest battery cell plant and CATL’s second in the region, making battery cells and modules for carmakers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis and Volkswagen.
The expansion comes as European automakers accelerate a transition to electric vehicles in their home markets, prompting surging demand for batteries from local suppliers and causing a run-on supply deal to avoid production bottlenecks.
Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have all announced or started to implement major battery expansion plans in Europe to secure access to vital cells and raw materials and support their electrification strategies.
CATL investment will mark “a giant leap in CATL’s global expansion,” the company’s founder and chairman Zeng Yuqun said in a statement.
The Chinese company is also pressing ahead with plans for battery production in North America by 2026 for clients including Ford Motor, despite tensions between Beijing and Washington.
The investment is also key for Hungary, which is becoming a major hub for electric vehicles and batteries in Europe.
Debrecen is home to a plant being built by BMW, while Volkswagen’s Audi brand has a factory in western Hungary’s Gyor and Mercedes-Benz operates one in Kecskemet, in the central part of the country.