FDI Perspective: Battery Boom in Thuringia

When the biggest manufacturer of e-vehicle batteries in the world announced it was building a EUR 1.8 billion plant in Thuringia, eastern Germany, it gave other foreign companies confidence to follow.

June, 2021

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) may not be a household name. But it’s the biggest EV battery manufacturer in the world, accounting for more than 109 gigawatt hours in 2020. That’s why it was a big deal when the company announced plans to build a EUR 1.8 billion plant in the eastern German state of Thuringia in 2019. When it’s finished in 2025, the facility – which will include a research facility, battery production and recycling operations – will employ at least 2,000 people.

Chinese group CATL is planning to start battery cell production in Arnstadt in 2022.

© picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild/Martin Schutt

“Germany is home to a strong automotive industry and several of CATL’s key customers,” said Matthias Zentgraf, co-president of CATL Europe at the time. Whereas its South Korean competitors had gravitated toward Poland and Hungary, CATL was the first big Asian producer to invest in Germany. And its expansion set a precedent that other companies, from SVOLT to Farasis, have followed. “For Thuringia, this is one of the biggest industrial investments in the last few decades,” said State Minister for Economic Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee on welcoming CATL to the region in 2019.


of Thuringia’s population works in manufacturing industries


GWh (gigawatt hours) production expected at German plant by 2022


CATL global workforce

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