ElringKlinger signs auto battery modules development JV with China's CITC

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German auto parts maker ElringKlinger has reached a joint venture deal with the Chinese company Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology Co Ltd. (CITC) to develop and produce lithium-ion battery modules.

A framework agreement, signed by the companies on 24 November, covers the set up of a joint enterprise to develop, produce and distribute modules to the global automotive market. The focus is on international e-mobility projects in Asia, Europe and the US.

The joint venture brings together complementary operations of the parties with CITC responsible for the electrochemical elements of the battery cell through its offshoot China Aviation Lithium Battery Co. Ltd. (CALB).

ElringKlinger is to contribute the remaining module components, such as innovative cell contact systems and cell housings. In addition the German partner will oversee the areas of battery design and production.

Apart from mutual access to resources, the partners will gain from each other’s expertise and many years of experience gathered by both companies in different sub-disciplines of battery technology, explained Dettingen-based ElringKlinger announcing the deal.

“The joint venture framework agreement provides a classic win-win constellation for the two partners.

“CITC now has at its side a global automotive supplier with expertise in industrialization and sales, while ElringKlinger will, in future, be working with one of the leading cell producers,” commented Stefan Wolf, chief executive of the German firm.

The deal is a significant step forward in his company’s “strategic positioning in the area of sustainable mobility”, the executive added.

ElringKlinger has been active in the field of battery technology as far back as 2009 and began serial production of various components and cell contact systems for lithium-ion batteries several years ago.

It already develops and manufactures complete battery modules and systems along with aggregate energy storage units.

ElringKlinger last year launched a new plant for its Chinese subsidiary ElringKlinger China Ltd. in Suzhou. Alongside cockpit cross-car beams based on hybrid technology with lightweight parts made of polymer and metal, the site mass produces thermal shielding parts and lightweight plastic modules.

CITC is a subsidiary of the state-run enterprise Aviation Industry Corporation of China. CITC’s offshoot CALB produces batteries and power supply systems for a variety of applications including lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems.

ElringKlinger continues to expand in Eastern Europe, and is shortly scheduled to open a new plant at Kecskemét, Hungary for the production of thermal shielding for automotive components.

The €21m 10,000m2 injection moulding unit is expected to be launched by the end of this year. This project is part of a regional debottlenecking programme by the firm as it switches shielding capacity from its Swiss Sevelen operation.

ElringKlinger expects to create around 700 new jobs at the new Kecskemét operation over the next few years, according to its chief financial officer Thomas Jessulat.

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