SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s CATL, the world’s largest battery maker, is pressing ahead with plans to deliver lower-cost lithium iron batteries to Ford Motor Co and with plans for battery production in North America by 2026, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.
Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that CATL was delaying a decision on a North American plant after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, saying that an announcement could still come by September or October.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that before Pelosi’s visit, which China sees as a provocation, CATL had been planning to announce its North American investment plans this month.
Reuters could not independently confirm whether CATL had delayed any announcement on its long-anticipated investment in North America, an expansion that has been previously complicated by tensions between the United States and China.
CATL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The person with knowledge of the company’s planning told Reuters CATL had not changed its plan to start local battery production for North America from 2026.
The expansion is expected to provide EV batteries for Ford, BMW and potentially other automakers, including Tesla.
In May, Reuters reported CATL was in the final stage of vetting sites including in South Carolina and Kentucky for battery production.
CATL has been considering building a plant in Mexico that could ship cells for assembly into battery packs at facilities in the United States, the person said. Subsidies and cost-sharing arrangements with automakers for those plants are still being negotiated, the person said.
Last month, Ford announced that it would use imported lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from CATL for its North American electric pickup trucks and SUVs.
Ford said it expected to be able to secure LFP batteries from a new 40 GWh factory to be built in North America from 2026.
(Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)