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The Battery King

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The Battery King

How did a Chinese company that few people have heard of manage to defeat German carmakers at their own game?

The Wire China,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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What's inside?

German luxury carmakers have come to rely on one Chinese firm in their switch to electric automobiles.

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When you think of the luxury vehicle industry, you likely think of Germany’s contributions — after all, the country is home to carmakers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. But journalist Henry Sanderson explains how a Chinese company with humble origins eclipsed German auto manufacturers in the race to produce batteries for electric cars. Sanderson’s probing, in-depth analysis details the vital role China is playing in the transition from combustion-engine autos to electric vehicles.


German carmakers depend on a Chinese-owned battery company, CATL.

Germany has long been a global automobile industry leader, yet in recent years, a little-known Chinese company has made itself indispensable to German automakers. In 2019, the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) financed the construction of a $2 billion battery plant in Arnstadt, Germany. At roughly the size of 100 football fields, CATL’s “Gigafactory” plays a vital role in giving the German automobile industry the means to go electric. The plant has the capacity to electrically power hundreds of thousands of cars annually.

Following pressure from the European Union in 2019, which had issued climate change targets, German carmakers like Volkswagen promised to transition their industry from internal combustion to electric vehicles (EVs). But Germany failed to invest in the ...

About the Author

 Executive editor of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Henry Sanderson wrote VOLT RUSH: The Winners and Losers in the Race to Go Green.

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