The biggest investment in Hungary’s history is being built in Debrecen

CATL, the world's largest battery manufacturer, will build its second plant in Europe in Debrecen.

Photo credit: Facebook (Papp László)

The Chinese Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), the world’s largest battery manufacturer, will build its second European plant, worth some HUF 3 trillion, in Debrecen, Hungary, according to Levente Magyar, parliamentary state secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The state secretary said that a series of negotiations lasting more than two years had been concluded on Friday, as a result of which the CATL facility will be built on a 221-hectare site, creating around 9,000 new jobs in Hungary.

He added that further details of the investment will be made public after the approval of CATL’s shareholder board; construction could begin as early as this year. 

Magyar said that the investment confirms that the government made the right decision when it announced its China opening strategy and identified the electric vehicle industry as one of the main axes of Hungarian economic development, he added.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) said in a statement that it is investing EUR 7.6 billion to build a 100 gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery plant in Debrecen. It will be the second battery plant in Europe after the one in Germany. 

The project, located in the Southern Industrial Park of Debrecen, will supply battery cells and modules to European car manufacturers.

Hungary — and Debrecen in particular — boasts a stable business environment, well-developed infrastructure and logistics links, a long-established automotive industry, and a large competitive workforce, making it the perfect choice for CATL’s second European battery plant. With the Hungarian plant’s proximity to some of its customers’ car plants, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis and Volkswagen, CATL will be able to better meet the battery demand of the European market, develop its global production network, and contribute to accelerating e-mobility and the energy transition in Europe, the statement said.

As part of its commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of battery production, CATL will use electricity from renewable energy sources and will also consider solar energy developments in Hungary in cooperation with local partners, the statement said.

In order to build a sustainable and circular battery value chain, CATL is also exploring the possibility of setting up battery feedstock production facilities in Europe with local partners.

Robin Zeng, founder and president of CATL, said that the Debrecen plant will certainly enable them to further enhance our competitive advantage, better meet the needs of our European customers, and accelerate the transition to e-mobility in Europe. 

He added that the greenfield investment in Hungary will be a huge leap forward in CATL’s global expansion and an important step in our efforts to make a significant contribution to the transition of humanity to green energy.

CATL’s European customers have welcomed the new project. Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and technical director for development and procurement, said that “CATL’s new state-of-the-art European plant in Hungary is another milestone in the expansion of its electric vehicle production with key partners.”

(MTI)