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CATL, Honda cooperate on EV battery development
Reuters | 2019/2/8

TOKYO -- Contemporary Amperex Technology and Honda Motor Co. signed an agreement to cooperate on jointly developing lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles, as China's top EV battery maker expands tie-ups with Japanese automakers.

CATL said on Tuesday it signed a memorandum of understanding with Honda under which it would guarantee supply of lithium ion EV batteries with storage capacity of around 56 gigawatt hours to the automaker by 2027, and set up an office near Honda's research unit in Tochigi Prefecture, outside Tokyo.

"The agreement focuses on supply of EV batteries in Asia," Honda spokeswoman Tomoko Takemori said, declining to give further details on which vehicles would use CATL batteries.

"We could also consider some supply for the North American market," she said.

Sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that the agreement to explore using CATL technology in Honda EVs was part of Honda's moves to diversify its battery suppliers to ensure stable stock in the longer term, and that the Japanese automaker has also been in talks with other battery makers, including current supplier Panasonic Corp.

As it pushes to meet China's stringent "green vehicle" quotas, Honda is planning to launch its first mass-production battery EV in China later this year, while it is building a new plant for new-energy vehicles, including battery EVs and plug-in hybrids.

CATL, one of the world's biggest EV battery makers, adds Honda to its list of partners which already includes BMW, Volkswagen AG and SAIC Motor Corp.

The Fujian-based company has been eager to secure more Japanese clients, and established a sales and development support hub in Yokohama last year. It already counts Nissan Motor Co. as a customer, supplying the batteries for the battery-electric version of the Sylphy sedan in China. 

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