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China's CATL to supply batteries for Daimler electric trucks

Global leader lines up European clients ahead of German plant's launch

CATL will open a lithium-ion battery factory in Germany in 2021, supplying electric vehicles such as Daimler's Freightliner trucks. (Photo from Daimler website)

GUANGZHOU -- China's CATL, the world leader in electric vehicle batteries, struck a deal to supply the devices for trucks from German automaker Daimler starting in 2021.

The lithium-ion batteries will be installed in truck models under Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner brands, CATL said Wednesday. The supply volume was not disclosed.

"Providing highly efficient and reliable solutions to electrify commercial vehicles is an essential element for the overall electro mobility market development," CATL President Zhou Jia said in a news release.

Daimler will invest 10 billion euros ($11 billion) through 2022 to electrify its autos. The company plans to have electric vehicles account for 15-25% of global unit sales by 2025.

The automaker has procured batteries from such suppliers as South Korea's LG Chem. By partnering with CATL, Daimler seeks to secure a stable supply to accommodate growing demand for electric vehicles.

CATL, short for Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., will spend up to 1.8 billion euros to build a massive battery plant in Germany, its first production site outside of China. Output of lithium-ion batteries for vehicles is slated to begin in 2021.

Agreements have already been reached for the factory to supply the likes of Germany's Volkswagen and BMW as well as Groupe PSA of France.

CATL's growth has been fueled by the sharp rise in electric vehicle sales in China. But the sector's momentum has slowed with Beijing recently slashing subsidies for these autos, driving the company to seek automotive clients abroad.

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