eastwest connect

Elon Musk met with CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun

Source: Interface News


On May 30, Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrived in Beijing by private jet, starting his first trip to China in three years, according to Interface News.

On the same day, Musk met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing.

On the afternoon of the same day, a photo of Musk and CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun walking side by side in a hotel lobby was circulated on social platforms. Subsequently, Caijing Auto obtained multiple cross-sources, and after the meeting with Qin Gang, Musk met with Zeng Yuqun.

According to Peng Mei News, industry insiders analyzed that the meeting between Musk and Zeng Yuqun may include the supply of energy storage cells for the Shanghai Energy Storage Super Factory, the future cooperation in building a battery factory in North America, and the supply of power batteries.

As the world’s largest power battery manufacturer, CATL entered Tesla’s supply chain in July 2020 and began to supply Tesla, becoming the third battery supplier after Panasonic and LG New Energy. In the following year, Tesla became the largest customer of CATL, purchasing a total of 13 billion yuan of lithium batteries that year, accounting for 10% of the total revenue of CATL.

In 2022, Tesla will contribute 38 billion yuan in lithium battery sales revenue to CATL, accounting for 11.59% of its total revenue. Tesla has also become the largest customer of CAtL for the second consecutive year.

Tesla has ambitious production capacity planning goals, and plans to achieve annual sales of 20 million vehicles by 2030. To support such large-scale automobile production, the supply of power batteries, the most critical parts of electric vehicles, must naturally be guaranteed. Therefore, the supply of power batteries will become an important topic in the meeting between the two parties.

Going a step further, Musk may want to introduce CATL into the United States to cooperate in building factories. Earlier, according to Bloomberg News, Tesla is considering building a battery factory in Texas to supply its local electric vehicle assembly plant, but the location has not yet been determined. Tesla wants to follow the model of CATL and Ford Motor Co., Ltd. to build a factory in the United States, that is, it owns and operates the factory itself, and at the same time obtains technology licenses from CATL.

In February of this year, CATL and Ford announced a new power battery factory in Michigan, USA, to cooperate in the production of lithium iron phosphate batteries, with an investment of up to 3.5 billion US dollars in the new factory. In this cooperation, CATL provides technical and service support for the production of the battery factory, and licenses the patented battery technology.

Tesla not only produces electric vehicles, but also produces large-scale energy storage equipment. In April this year, Tesla’s first energy storage super factory project outside the United States was announced in Shanghai. The factory will plan to produce Tesla’s ultra-large commercial energy storage battery (Megapack), which is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2023 and start production in the second quarter of 2024. It is understood that Tesla will purchase lithium iron phosphate battery cells from CATL to produce energy storage equipment.