China's CATL to Supply Honda with 123 GWh of Electric Vehicle Batteries by 2030

China's CATL to Supply Honda with 123 GWh of Electric Vehicle Batteries by 2030

Author: Eric Walz   

Japan's Honda Motor Co has signed a major deal with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited ("CATL") to supply electric vehicle batteries over the next seven years. From 2024 through 2030, Honda will purchase 123 GWh of batteries from CATL for its new fully electric vehicle brand "e:N" that was announced in October of last year.

Honda plans to launch 10 new fully-electric vehicles for the China market by 2027 under its e:N brand.

The partnership between the two companies goes back to 2020, when Honda and CATL signed an agreement to form a strategic alliance that will provide the automaker with a stable supply of batteries through 2030. The agreement includes joint development and the recycling and reuse of used batteries.

The electric vehicle batteries for Honda EVs sold in China will be produced in CATL's production base in Yichun, east China's Jiangxi Province.  

Honda is looking to catch up to its rivals in the EV segment. In May, the automaker announced an investment of $40 billion over the next 10 years to launch up to 30 all-electric vehicles globally by 2030.

Shinji Aoyama, Honda's global head of electrification, said earlier this year that Honda is targeting North American EV production of 750,000-800,000 electric vehicles in 2030, and roughly the same number in China, which is the world's biggest auto market. Honda also plans to produce another 400,000-500,000 EVs in Japan and other markets.

Honda is also working with battery maker LG Energy Solutions (LGES), which is a unit of South Korea-based LG Chem.

In August, Honda and LGES announced plans to invest $4.4 billion to build a joint venture electric vehicle battery factory in the U.S. The factory will produce lithium ion batteries for Honda and Acura vehicles for the North American market. The battery plant aims to have an annual production capacity of approximately 40 GWh, which is enough batteries to power up to 500,000 vehicles. 

The location of the EV battery factory has not yet been finalized by the two companies. Once a site is selected, construction is expected to begin in early 2023, with the mass production of advanced lithium-ion battery cells beginning by the end of 2025.

CATL is now a major battery supplier to automakers. The company is the world's biggest producer of EV batteries. In 2021, CATL's lithium-ion battery sales were 133.4 GWh, which represented a 184.8% year-on-year increase. The company's net income for 2021 more than doubled to 15.93 billion yuan ($2.47 billion).

CATL is also Tesla's battery supplier for the vehicles built in Shanghai. But the company has also entered into strategic partnerships with Ford Motor Co, Fisker Inc, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, as well as Chinese automakers Great Wall Motor, Li Auto and NIO Inc, according to its annual report.

In Dec 2021, CATL began phase 1 production at its new EV battery factory in China. The first phase of operations will have an annual capacity of 60 GWh and the second phase will also be 60 GWh for a total of 120 GWh of battery production. 

The plant will be the world's largest EV battery factory and three times bigger than Tesla's gigafactory in Nevada. 

In July, CATL announced a new advanced EV battery design named the "Qinlin." The energy-dense cell-to-pack (CTP) battery allows an electric vehicle to travel 1,000 km (621 miles) "in a breeze", according to CATL.

The Qilin battery is the third generation of CATL's cell-to-pack (CTP) battery technology. The battery achieves the world's highest volume utilization efficiency of 72% and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg, which CATL says can deliver ranges of over 600 miles. For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry has a cell to pack ratio of 49% with an energy density of 173 Wh/L.  

CATL's new Qilin battery can be a game changer for the auto industry and lead to the widespread global adoption of electric vehicles. The Qilin batteries are expected to be mass produced and launched in 2023. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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