The world’s largest battery manufacturer , the Chinese CATL, will invest 3.3 billion yuan (US $ 466.2 million, 415.4 million euros) in a laboratory where it will develop state-of-the-art units, the official press reported. The company laid the first stone of this complex yesterday, called 21C Lab, which will cover 18 hectares and will be located in the city of Ningde (Southeast China), where the company has its headquarters. It is expected to attract a thousand researchers within five years, and operations are slated to begin in 2021. According to CATL, the laboratory will focus on the development of next-generation electrochemical energy storage systems, as well as new energy conversion systems. Also, reliability models of lithium-ion batteries or non-destructive technology will be investigated to carry out tests. Earlier this month, CATL President Zeng Yuqun said his company can manufacture a battery capable of powering a car to travel two million kilometers with a life span of 16 years.
According to Zeng, it would be 10% more expensive than those normally used in electric vehicles, although they have the capacity to drive a car for about 240,000 kilometers, so the difference would be noticeable. However, according to the private digital portal Caixin, the head of the company did not elaborate on the battery or reveal whether it already has customers who have placed orders. In 2019, CATL was the world’s leading company in terms of volume of consumption of batteries for electric vehicles, with 40.25 gigawatt hours (GW / h).
The company has more than 26,000 employees and has subsidiaries in countries such as Germany, where it is currently building its first European factory, France, Japan, the United States and Canada. Its clients include automobile giants such as BMW or the Volkswagen Group, and also prominent firms in the electric vehicle market such as the American Tesla.