CATL in talks with Tesla, global automakers for US licensing, WSJ reports

NEW YORK: Chinese electric-vehicle battery maker CATL is in talks with Tesla and other unnamed automakers to license its battery technology in the U.S. instead of building its own plant there, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The scale of cooperation and details about what technology Tesla would license from CATL are still being discussed and will depend on the EV maker's cash flow, the report said, citing an interview with CATL chairman Robin Zeng.

The Chinese company's existing partnership with Ford Motor will be the model for similar cooperation with other US carmakers, the report added.

Ford said in November it would scale back the investment for its Michigan battery plant to produce low-cost lithium-iron batteries based on technology licensed by CATL following pushback from US lawmakers.

The WSJ report on CATL comes amid a global slowdown in EV demand and as US lawmakers tighten their grip over the battery industry to prevent China-produced minerals or Chinese battery companies from winning electric vehicle tax credits.

Ford, CATL and Tesla did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

CATL is also working on faster charging batteries, opens new tab for Tesla and supplying machinery to the Elon Musk-led company's factory in Nevada, according to an interview Bloomberg News had with Zeng.

Zeng had told reporters earlier this month that the company was in discussions to set up research and development centres in Hong Kong to create new technologies that can be licensed abroad as domestic EV demand weakens.