The unknown Chinese battery maker that worries the United States

The unknown Chinese battery maker that worries the United States

BarcelonaThere is a new line of economic conflict, still in its infancy, between the two global superpowers. It's about the global race to store the clean energy needed to drive the green transition, and a relatively unknown Chinese company: CATL, the world's largest maker of electric vehicle batteries.

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Imperex Contemporary Technology Company CATL Limited (CATL) controls nearly two-fifths of the global electric vehicle battery market and powers cars made by brands such as Tesla, Volkswagen and BMW. It is not an anecdotal presence, but so far it has slipped under the radar of American policy. This has changed.

The US energy company Duke said in February that it would phase out the use of CATL batteries, with the aim of replacing them with technology from a “domestic supplier or allied country,” it said. British newspaper Watchman. The fact is that lawmakers have already expressed concern about the use of CATL batteries at the base of the fuselage Marines (Camp Lejeune, North Carolina).

Auto giant Ford has also come under fire for its handling of CATL: Lawmakers have questioned a deal the brand struck with the Chinese manufacturer to build a plant in Michigan to produce low-cost lithium iron phosphate electric batteries for electric vehicles. Marco Rubio, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the matter took America's “most significant geopolitical adversary” into account. In November, Ford scaled back its plans for the plant, cutting capacity by 40%.

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“This is not something that has been talked about or discussed by the US government. There has been no provocation at all,” Tu Lu, founder of Sino Auto Insights, says of the controversy with CATL, according to British media. Pressure is mounting on American companies to stop using Chinese batteries, an element that conflicts with their need to use them to be competitive, at least until 2030.

Underlying this new conflict is a well-known issue: there is the fear of creating technological dependence on China, which could eventually turn into a weakness if relations between the two superpowers become complicated. There is another, more practical idea: that the country's tax subsidies for green technology eventually end up in the hands of Chinese companies.

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