(Yicai Global) May 31 -- Elon Musk, chief executive officer of US electric car startup Tesla, arrived in Beijing by private jet yesterday for a string of high-level meetings, one of which was with Robin Zeng, his counterpart at Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology. The two most likely discussed closer co-operation on new energy vehicle batteries.
Topics that were probably on the agenda are the supply of energy storage cells to Tesla’s planned Megapack factory in Shanghai, building a battery plant in North America together as well as the supply of batteries to Tesla’s electric cars, online news outlet The Paper reported, citing market insiders.
Neither Tesla nor CATL have commented on the meeting but pictures of the two in animated conversation as they strode through a hotel lobby were circulating on social media.
Tesla plans to build a second factory for its Megapacks, a large stationary battery for use at energy storage power stations, in Shanghai, the California-based company said earlier this month. And the cells, which are one of the batteries’ main components, will be made by Ningde, southeastern Fujian province-based CATL.
CATL is already a supplier to Tesla’s Megapack factory in Lathrop, California, along with other third-party manufacturers such as South Korea’s LG Energy Solution.
Last week, CATL unveiled its newest energy storage solution which improves the charging and discharging efficiency of existing options by 10 percent. The optical storage integrated solution with “zero auxiliary power supply” uses cutting-edge high-temperature cell technology to reduce conventional batteries’ dependence on a cooling system and auxiliary power supply.
Whether this new tech will be used in the Shanghai Megapacks factory remains to be seen.
In addition to energy storage, the two tycoons may have talked about setting up a battery factory in the US. In March, Bloomberg reported that Tesla has announced to the White House that it plans to team up with CATL to build a battery plant in Texas. CATL could license its technology to Tesla, just as it did in its tie-up with Ford Motor Company.
On Feb. 14, Ford inked a deal with CATL to invest USD3.5 billion to construct a plant for lithium iron phosphate batteries in Michigan. The factory will be 100 percent owned by Ford through a unit, while CATL will license its cell-to-pack technology to the US automaker.
Editor: Kim Taylor