Tesla supplier CATL reviews battery swapping business overseas

CATL is the world’s largest maker of electric vehicle batteries and suppliers to the likes of Tesla and Ford.

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CATL, the world’s largest electric vehicle battery maker, is considering expanding its battery swapping business into international markets, a senior executive told CNBC.

CATL, or Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited, is a supplier to companies like Tesla and Ford.

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In January, Chinese battery maker Evogo launched a battery swap service in 10 cities in China. The aim is to eliminate the need for electric cars to stop at charging stations. Instead, drivers can rent battery packs from CATL and put them in the car when the other battery runs out. This will take a few minutes.

In China, electric car startup Neo also has a competing battery swap program. The company It plans to build 1,000 battery exchange stations outside of China by 2025, most of which will be in Europe, Neo founder Qin Xiong told Reuters this week.

Li Xiaoning, executive director of foreign business application at CATL, told CNBC in an interview on Thursday that the company is considering expanding its battery swapping product to Europe.

“I say it will start in China this year. We will check EVOGO’s overseas footprint step by step,” Lee said.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

“We will start to evaluate the cooperation with many partners. We need to understand the details in practice,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we have to think about. Product technology is one thing, and the business case, the regulation, the environmental regulations and other things that we have to think about.”

If CATL expands its business overseas, it will help foreign car makers offer battery swapping services to customers without having to build expensive infrastructure themselves.

CATL is facing challenges including rising prices of raw materials like lithium, which goes into its batteries.

But the company managed to more than double profits in the second quarter as demand for electric vehicles remained strong.

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