China’s CATL, the world’s largest battery maker, is also due to start supplying cylindrical batteries to BMW from 2025.
Expectations are high that these batteries will also be large-sized cells. CATL did not respond to a request for comment on planned dimensions.
It was not immediately clear how many batteries BMW plans to procure from EVE and CATL.
EVE’s deal with BMW prompted the Chinese company to announce in March that it would build a cylindrical battery production facility in Debrecen, Hungary – its first plant in Europe, according to the person with direct knowledge of the deal.
BMW is also constructing a plant in the same city where it plans to produce EVs developed on its Neue Klasse platform. Government incentives are driving demand for EVs in Europe and the United States, spurring Chinese battery and EV makers to accelerate plans to set up production bases overseas.
CATL announced last week it would build Europe’s biggest battery plant with annual capacity of 100 gigawatt hours, also in Debrecen, to supply European automakers. Mercedes-Benz will be its largest client.
With much of fresh battery demand likely to be for large cylindrical cells, Chinese battery makers which have relied on a huge domestic market where prismatic cells reign, will have to change tack like EVE and CATL, said Duan Bing, an analyst at Nomura.
Eve, founded by lithium ion battery researcher Liu Jincheng in 2001 and also a supplier to Xpeng, is a much smaller player than CATL. It ranks eighth with 2.3 percent market share in China, according to data from the China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance.
By comparison, CATL makes 48 percent of the total batteries installed in EVs in China.