The Chinese company Huayou Cobalt will build its first European factory in Hungary to produce cathode material for electric car batteries. The planned site in Ács is only a few kilometres from the city of Győr, where Audi operates a plant.
Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó announced that Huayou Cobalt will invest 520 billion forints (about 1.4 billion euros) in the cathode material factory in Ács in the north of the country. The plant is expected to have a capacity of around 100,000 tonnes per year. Further details have not yet been made public. It remains unclear when the factory will be built and when it will be completed.
The Chinese company is one of the most important suppliers of battery raw materials worldwide. The company maintains numerous partnerships with carmakers and battery cell manufacturers – for example, two joint ventures are to be founded with VW in China. There is also already a partnership with BMW in China, although not in the area of raw material procurement, but in recycling.
Many carmakers and battery manufacturers are currently setting up plants in Hungary. The country offers favourable investment conditions, especially for China. CATL and Eve Energy, for example, are building large battery cell factories in Debrecen. BMW is also currently building its first electric car plant in Debrecen for the new class vehicles, including battery assembly. And the South Korean battery material manufacturer EcoPro BM started building a factory in Debrecen at the end of April.
Huayou’s favoured location, Ács, is only a few kilometres from the city of Győr, where Audi operates a plant. Production of purely electric cars is to start there in the coming years. It is considered likely that an electric compact model will be produced there in the future. Audi currently builds the A3 in Győr. The Hungarian city also produces internal combustion and electric engines for the entire group. From 2025, Audi plans to produce a new family of electric drive systems for the MEB ECO platform for use in the Volkswagen Group’s electric small cars at its plant there.
Audi Hungaria produces around 100,000 units per year of the current electric drive systems, including the asynchronous machines for the e-tron quattro built in Brussels, among other things. As reported, e-drives for the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) have also recently been produced in Györ.