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Gotion Signs 200 GWh LFP Battery Deal With Major Publicly Traded US Automaker

Gotion High-Tech, based in Shenzhen, China, announced this week it has signed a supply and localization agreement with a major publicly traded US auto company to supply the latter with 200 GWh of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries between 2023 and 2028. Gotion is currently the fourth largest battery manufacturer in China, according to the China Automotive Battery Innovation Alliance. CATL is number one with a 55% market share, followed by BYD at 16.6% and CALB at 5.2%.

According to CnEVPost, Gotion did not reveal who its customer in the US is, but did say it is a large publicly traded automotive company in the US with a high market capitalization and a high ranking among global car companies. It added that the company has an excellent credit rating and good performance capability and that Gotion has maintained a long-standing and good cooperative relationship with it. Gotion does say its US subsidiary has had no transactions with the customer during the 2018–2020 period.

Despite the lack of details, the speculation at CnEVPost and Electrive is that the customer is Tesla. Why? Because the Gotion announcement goes on to say the LFP batteries it supplies will be used in the customer’s electric vehicle and other applications in the US and global markets. That “other applications” part is what has tongues wagging. Tesla is heavily involved in grid-scale battery storage, and while traditional lithium-ion battery cells have been the choice for most of those “big batteries,” things are changing. Freyr Battery of Norway announced recently is planning to manufacture 31 GWh of LFP batteries dedicated solely to grid-scale storage. No other US automaker has talked about being in the energy storage business.

Tesla has already agreed to buy 45 GWh of LFP batteries from CATL and is rumored to be negotiating with BYD for more. If the rumor is correct, Gotion would be the third LRP supplier to Tesla. Initially, the batteries from Gotion will be manufactured in China, but the two parties also plan to localize the production and supply of LFP batteries in the US and explore the possibility of forming a joint venture in the future, according to the announcement.

Electrive reports that Gotion has been expanding rapidly in recent months, entering into a number of collaborations and unveiling new developments. In September, it announced plans to reach a production capacity of 300 GWh by 2025 — three times as much as previously planned. In addition, the company revealed it has developed an LFP cell with a high nickel content that can achieve an energy density of 302 Wh/kg at cell level and 200 Wh/kg at the system level.

Just last week, Volkswagen became the largest shareholder in Gotion, which has replaced Northvolt as VW’s partner for battery cell production in Salzgitter. It may also supply batteries for Volkswagen EVs built in China. Gotion has also entered into collaborations with other automakers. In November, it signed a battery deal with Great Wall and it entered into a partnership with VinFast in August.

The only question on the horizon, as far as US production is concerned, is whether the US government will balk at having Chinese made batteries or batteries from a US subsidiary of a Chinese company installed in US made cars. Its pigheaded stance about BYD not being allowed to benefit from the infrastructure funds designed to promote the electrification of buses in the US has got to make any Chinese company planning to do business in the US very nervous, whether the customer is Tesla, Volkswagen, or somebody else.

The switchover to LFP batteries has begun and is accelerating. Is Tesla the “major publicly traded company” the Gotion announcement refers to? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


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