For our latest e-book on the electromobility and battery sector in CEE, we spoke with Balázs Szilágyi, Head of Public Affairs in Europe at giant battery manufacturer CATL about the expectations of the battery plant to be built in Debrecen, Hungary, its environmental impact and, overall, how CATL has been affected by the new EU Battery Regulation entered into force this summer.
Q: Overall, how important is the European market for CATL?
A: CATL is a global leader in new energy solutions and our company has had several European clients for more than a decade. While the role of the European EV market is increasing, thanks to the European commitments to the green energy transition, we have been keeping our leading role of manufacturing EV batteries and Energy Storage Systems.
As Europe steps up its ambition to combat climate change, our German and our future Hungarian plants dovetail nicely with the EU’s ambition and also mark a milestone in CATL’s global journey. Our battery plant near Erfurt, in Germany, started operation in 2022 which was the start of moving its production closer to our customers. Our Debrecen plant will be our biggest factory in Europe, which will help our company respond to customers’ needs in a timely manner.
Q: CATL’s factory in Arnstadt operates with the same technology as the one planned for Debrecen. What did the company learn from its first European experience that can be replicated in Hungary? What do you think will be the main differences, in terms of both challenges and opportunities?
A: CATL uses the most advanced technology in both European factories. Our technology is focused on green manufacturing, green energy and green logistics based on industry 4.0 technology. Our goal is to replicate these experiences in Debrecen too and of course, our company must comply with the regulations of the European Union both in Germany and Hungary. CATL strives for a close relationship with the local communities in both countries. As a global organisation, CATL embraces the philosophy of thinking locally: in doing so CATL has significantly expanded its local footprint and contributions to the communities it operates in.
To read the entire interview, download our e-book “Electromobility in CEE: can the Region Maintain Its Competitive Edge?” for free!