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Electric cars in China

CATL to finish study for European electric-vehicle battery plant

Exporting from China 'not viable' as company challenges South Korean rivals

Battery Show Europe. China's CATL may set up a plant in Europe to challenge rival South Korean battery makers, who already have a manufacturing foothold on the continent.

HANNOVER, Germany -- Contemporary Amperex Technology, one of the world's leading battery makers for electric vehicles, will soon decide whether to build a manufacturing plant in Europe, an executive of the Chinese company said on Tuesday.

In his keynote speech on the first day of Battery Show Europe in Hannover, Germany, Matthias Zentgraf, head of CATL's European operation, said the company is now in the final phase of a feasibility study for a potential battery plant on the continent.

A decision will be made within a few weeks, Zentgraf said, after the company finishes assessing location, investment requirements and production capacity, among other considerations.

CATL has said it will expand its total manufacturing capacity equivalent to 50 gigawatt hours by the end of 2020. Observers said the company may be aiming to bring the projected European plant online sometime that year.

Volkswagen considers CATL its main supplier along with South Korea's LG Chem.

The company is thinking of building a local plant rather than shipping products from China to Europe, which takes six weeks and is not viable, according to Zentgraf.

South Korean rivals such as LG Chem and Samsung SDI already have manufacturing operations in Europe, including Poland and Hungary.

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