The largest player in the global battery market, the Chinese CATL, is building a factory in Debrecen with an investment of 7.3 billion euros.
According to the announcement of the Chinese company, the factory with a capacity of 100 gigawatt hours will be their second European plant after the one in Germany. CATL also announced that its battery factory will be built in Debrecen’s Southern Economic Zone, on 221 hectares, where archaeological excavations are underway.
Levente Magyar, the parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, stated that CATL creates 9,000 new jobs in Hungary. The state secretary said that a series of negotiations lasting more than two years ended on Friday. He added that further details of the investment will be made public after the approval of the Chinese company’s shareholders’ council.
Depending on the approval of the shareholders’ meeting, the construction of the first production plant may begin this year.
It is a huge investment, and this partly justifies the tens of billions of HUF electrical network developments that were announced recently. Previously, the value of the largest green field investment to be realized in Hungary was worth 3 billion euros, the CATL factory will be more than double that amount, nearly HUF 3,000 billion. “We have no doubt that our plant in Debrecen will allow us to further increase our competitive advantage, better serve our European customers and accelerate the transition to European e-mobility,” said Robin Zeng, founding president of CATL. “The greenfield investment in Hungary will be a giant leap in CATL’s global expansion, and at the same time an important step towards achieving our goal of making an outstanding contribution to humanity’s green energy aspirations,” he added.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said, “both the global and the European economy have had to face enormous challenges in the past period. Hungary’s clear goal is to develop despite the recession. The best way to achieve this goal is to attract state-of-the-art technological investments in the most revolutionary branch of the automotive industry, electromobility. We are proud that CATL has decided on the largest green field investment in the history of Hungary. We have recently become one of the world’s leading battery manufacturing facilities, and with this huge investment we are further strengthening our position.”
According to the announcement, the investment in Debrecen was well received by CATL’s European customers. Markus Schäfer, technical director responsible for development and procurement of the board of directors of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, said, “the new high-tech CATL plant in Hungary is another milestone in the expansion of electric vehicle production. With CATL, we have a leading technology partner who, as the first and largest customer of the initial capacity of the new plant, will provide high-quality CO2-neutral battery cells for our next-generation European electric vehicles.” The factory will supply battery cells and modules to European car manufacturers. In a statement, the company emphasized: Hungary – and Debrecen in particular – boasts a stable business environment, developed infrastructure and logistics connections, a long-standing automotive industry and a considerable competitive workforce, making it a perfect choice for CATL’s second European battery factory. They also point out that the Hungarian plant will be close to some of its customers’ car factories, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis and Volkswagen.
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) is the world’s largest battery manufacturer, producing almost 97 gigawatt-hours of capacity in 2021 from lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. This achieved a 33 percent share of the global market. According to their ambition, they want to increase this to 500 gigawatt hours by 2025 and 800 gigawatt hours by 2030. The company was founded only 11 years ago, and its partners include BMW, which is building a factory in Debrecen, Hyundai, Honda, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.