EV Battery Drumbeat Persists on Hill


Congressional Republican China hawks have called for a comprehensive ban on trade and investment dealings with two leading manufacturers of electric vehicle battery systems.

Led by the new Chair of the House Select China Committee John Moolenaar (R-MI), the lawmakers wrote letters to DHS Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans  Robert Silvers detailing "shocking new evidence implicating major Chinese battery manufacturers, Gotion and CATL, in Chinese Communist Party state-sponsored slave labor and the ongoing Uyghur genocide."

The letters to Mr. Silvers detail supply relationships between the two firms and mineral, metals and labor providers currently under US sanction for their involvement in modern slavery in the Xinjiang Uyghur Region of Western China.

Last September Moolenaar and his predecessor Mike Gallagher appealed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to withhold any federal support for Chinese battery companies in the United States [see 10093].

Moolenaar has long been a vocal critic of Gotion's plans to build a $2.4 billion battery plant in his district that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has called “the biggest ever economic development project in northern Michigan”  

Gotion’s board is one-third German, one-third American and one-third Chinese. The firm's largest shareholder is  Germany's Volkswagen Group owning about 26% of the company.

CATL, is the largest global maker of batteries for electric and hybrid cars, powering one in three EVs on the road ,   The firm is a supplier to General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Tesla, Daimler, and many Chinese EV manufacturers.    

A proposed Ford Motor partnership, licensing CATL technology, with sourcing and manufacturing  by Ford was paused last Fall amid Congressional objections.  Construction has since resumed, and CATL is reportedly negotiating similar deals with Tesla and General Motors.  While the IRA subsidies for EV purchases will exclude cars with Chinese content, licensing would presumably avoid that sanction.

On Friday the Decoupling from Foreign Adversarial Battery Dependence Act, legislation was introduced, aiming to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from procuring batteries manufactured by six Chinese companies, including CATL and Gotion.  The bill was authored by Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security

In other battery news, Volvo Cars has introduced a "battery passport" feature showing owners the content and origin of the materials in their vehicles' batteries.  Such data will be required by EU regulators in 2027, the Wall Street Journal  reports. Volvo is owned by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese firm.

Read the letter on CATL HERE.

Read the letter on Gotion HERE.



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