Chinese companies play a leading role in world electric mobility, Matthias Zentgraf, regional chief of China's major lithium battery supplier CATL, told Xinhua at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA).
"Electric mobility is one of the key topics of the IAA show. Every OEM and every company is talking about electric driving," said Zengraf. "And in this area, Chinese companies are in a leading position."
He explained that China started developing electric cars "pretty much earlier" than other countries and China is the largest sales market for electric cars.
CATL, headquartered in southern China's Fujian Province, for example, has a 20-year history in producing batteries. According to Zentgraf, CATL is now the third largest supplier of electric mobility batteries with a global market share of more than 20 percent.
BYD, another Chinese electric mobility company, is the second largest batteries producer.
Zentgraf said that CATL is the first Chinese batteries company that supplies to the global industry chain, whose customers include German major carmakers like Volkswagen and BMW. CATL not only delivers batteries to them but also develops technology with them.
"Our innovation ability is very high," Zentgraf talked about CATL's competitive advantages. "We are very fast with the development of technology" thanks to a R&D team of more than 1,000 PhDs and masters of science in China.
In his opinion, the batteries industry depends on the speed of innovation. Companies must response fast to the new demand coming along with the new trend happening in the automobile industry.
He said, CATL is developing technologies to increase electric driving range and shorten the charging time, both of which are pursued by its international peers.
For now, batteries produced by CATL can last 400 kilometers on one charge. The charging time can be as short as 15 minutes with the new products, which are very competitive world-widely.
Instead of focus on Chinese market before, CATL is planning to build a new plant in Europe to meet the rising demand of the continent. "Last year, there's significant change in automobile industry of Europe, shifting from conventional engines to electric ones," Zentgraf said.
He noted that the percentage of electric cars in production in Europe will increase sharply to roughly 25 percent in 2025. "It's the general trend and will be only a matter of time (to shift to electric engines)."