Chinese Battery Giant CATL partners with Arun Plus to enter Thailand

CATL has announced plans to establish a battery assembly factory in Thailand. It will collaborate with Arun Plus. CATL is a the Chinese battery giant. PTT, a Thai state-owned oil company, owns Arun Plus as its subsidiary. CATL and Arun Plus plan to invest 3.6 billion baht ($104 million). This move is part of Thailand’s strategic efforts to position itself as a leading electric vehicle (EV) hub in Southeast Asia. It is also to safeguard its automotive supply chain from competition posed by Indonesia.

Arun Plus was established by PTT as a means to diversify its business away from fossil fuels and establish a national champion in the EV sector. The joint venture aims to commence battery assembly in the fourth quarter of 2024, focusing on cell-to-pack batteries. Initially, the factory will have an annual capacity of 6 gigawatt-hours, which can be expanded to 20 gigawatt-hours if necessary. The batteries produced will primarily cater to Horizon Plus, Arun’s EV manufacturing arm. In addition, Horizon Plus aims to achieve an annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles by 2024 and 150,000 vehicles by 2030. In essence, the partnership with CATL will help them achieve that goal.

CATL and Arun Plus are enthusiastic

The long-term objective of the partnership is to establish a battery cell plant in Thailand. The assembly facility will be strategically located in the Eastern Economic Corridor, a prominent automotive hub in the country. The companies involved expressed their enthusiasm for the collaboration. Arun Plus highlighted the significance of CATL’s expertise in the global battery value chain. This value chain encompasses various stages from raw material sourcing to recycling. Subsequently, CATL highlighted Arun Plus’s local knowledge and presence.

One key advantage of cell-to-pack batteries is their enhanced efficiency, with a 10% to 15% improvement over cell-to-module batteries. Additionally, their production costs are 20% to 25% lower due to reduced component requirements. This cost efficiency will be crucial, especially as demand for EV batteries drives up the prices of raw materials like lithium. The increase in raw material prices affected CATL’s battery profit margins in 2022.

The partnership between CATL and Arun Plus signifies a major step toward strengthening Thailand’s position in the regional EV industry. By leveraging CATL’s technological prowess and Arun Plus’ local presence, the collaboration aims to contribute to Thailand’s sustainable growth and establish the nation as a significant player in the global EV market.

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