Chinese battery-maker to build US battery cell factory for a mystery automaker. Could it be...Tesla?
If the US is ever to catch up in the electric vehicle race, establishing domestic battery production will be a must. So the news that Chinese battery cell manufacturer Gotion High-Tech (aka Guoxuan High-Tech) envisions establishing LFP battery cell production in the US was welcome.
Above: A look at a Tesla battery pack (Source: Tesla)
Even more exciting to fans of a certain California carmaker: the company reports that it has agreed to supply 200 GWh of LFP battery cells to an unnamed “large US automaker” between 2023 and 2028.
Gotion wrote in a filing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (translated from the Chinese by Electrek): “US Guoxuan agreed to...build new production capacity in the United States to meet the customer’s battery procurement needs...The two parties will...explore the possibility of establishing a joint venture company...The scope may cover investments in upstream materials and downstream battery recycling industries.”
“On the one hand, based on the customer’s needs, the company will export LFP through its battery production base in mainland China. On the other hand, the two parties plan to localize the production and supply of LFP batteries in the United States...The LFP battery products will be used in the customer’s...electric cars and other applications.”
Above: A look at Gotion's battery cells (Source: Gotion High-Tech)
Now, let’s see...who could that “large listed automobile company in the US” be? Well, there is a certain automaker that recently announced plans to phase in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells for its Standard Range vehicles in the US. No LFP cells are currently being produced in the States, so establishing production here could be very handy for that mystery manufacturer.
Another little hint: Gotion’s announcement mentions using the cells in EVs and “other applications,” and we’re only aware of one automaker that prominently uses Li-ion cells in products other than vehicles—that would be the seller of the Powerwall, Powerpack and Megapack stationary storage batteries.
As Electrek notes, the biggest giveaway might be the volume involved in the deal—200 GWh of cells between 2023 and 2028 is enough to supply about half a million EVs per year. There aren’t too many US automakers producing anywhere near that many EVs at the moment—in fact, there’s only one, and its logo resembles a cat’s nose.
In case all these clues aren’t enough to give away the identity of the confidential carmaker, consider the location of Gotion’s US headquarters: Fremont, California.