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Nissan and Renault turn to China’s battery maker CATL for new electric cars

Nissan and Renault are planning a series of new electric cars for the Chinese market and they are turning to China’s emerging leading automotive battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), to supply them.

A report from Nikkei says that the two automakers have signed contracts with CATL for batteries to go with two specific EV programs for the Chinese market.

Last month, Nissan unveiled a new Leaf-based electric car, the Sylphy, to be mass-produced in China.

CATL will be supplying the batteries for the vehicle as well as Renault’s Kangoo Z.E. electric van, which will also go into production in China.

Nissan and Renault both have several different electric vehicle efforts in China in order to comply with the country’s aggressive ZEV mandate. Automakers need zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to represent 10% of new car sales as soon as next year and quickly ramp up to 12% by 2020 – at least on a credit basis.

Aside from their existing brands in the country, one of those new efforts is a joint-venture called eGT New Energy Automotive Co in partnership with the Dongfeng Motor Group, a Chinese automaker.

The new brand is expected to launch new EVs on the market next year after Nissan brings the Sylphy to production with CATL’s batteries.

CATL is primarily using LiFePo and NCM chemistries in prismatic cell formats and their batteries have been mostly going to electric bus production and plug-in hybrids, but they recently signed a supply contract with SAAB successor National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) in order to enable the production of hundreds of thousands of all-electric cars per year.

Apple has also been rumored to be in talks with CATL.

The battery maker already has a 17.5 GWh production capacity and they are currently setting up an IPO to raise $2 billion in order to build a new factory.

They plan to quickly ramp up production at the factory to 24 GWh by 2020.

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