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Tesla Cooperates With CATL on Faster-Charging Battery Technology

Tesla and battery manufacturer CATL are working together on the development of new battery technologies that could lead to faster-charging electric vehicle batteries, the founder of the Chinese battery manufacturer, the world’s biggest, told Bloomberg in an interview published on Monday.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., as CATL is officially known, has a large supply deal with the U.S. EV manufacturer, and is also a battery supplier to big automakers including BMW and the Mercedes-Benz Group AG. 

Amid the U.S.-China trade and technology spats and U.S. restrictions on Chinese technology used in America-made products, CATL is effectively banned from selling its batteries directly in the United States. But the company is working under so-called licensing, royalty, and services (LRS) agreements with partners, allowing them to license the battery technology, for a fee.  

Last year, one of Detroit’s Big Three, Ford, said it had reached an agreement with CATL, under which a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford would manufacture the battery cells using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cell knowledge and services provided by CATL.   

Currently, CATL is in discussions with up to 20 U.S. and European carmakers to potentially reach licensing deals similar to the one with Ford, CATL’s founder, Chinese billionaire Robin Zeng, told Bloomberg.

Separately, CATL and Tesla are working together on new electrochemical technology aiming to make faster-charging batteries, he added.

Tesla is looking to preserve its market share in the growing global EV battery market and to manufacture a vehicle that would cost less than $25,000.

“There’s always room for cost reduction depending on what the $25,000 car’s aim is,” CATL’s Zeng told Bloomberg in the interview.

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The Chinese businessman also confirmed an earlier Bloomberg report from January this year that Tesla plans to open a small battery-manufacturing plant in Nevada using idle CATL equipment, with minimal involvement of the Chinese company, whose staff would only work on setting up the equipment.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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