Honda invests in China's CATL to jointly develop EV batteries

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BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co Ltd 7267.T will buy a 1% stake in Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) 300750.SZ and the two will jointly develop EV batteries, the companies said on Friday.

The move comes at a time when auto manufacturers and EV battery makers are joining forces in pursuit of an electric future. CATL, based in Ningde, said last year it would develop batteries with Honda and also supply batteries to Tesla TSLA.O, Toyota 7203.T and Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE.

Honda and CATL said in a statement they would develop battery technologies and research a battery recycling business. Honda will launch its first EV with CATL’s battery in China in 2022 and will expand the partnership with stable EV battery supply globally in the future.

Honda has struck a number of partnerships to make electric cars, including a joint venture with China's GAC 601238.SS under which the Japanese automaker began selling its first all-battery EV, the Everus VE-1 SUV crossover, in China last year.

It has also tied up with Hitachi Ltd's 6501.T auto parts subsidiary to develop, produce and sell motors to be used in petrol hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars.

For the North American market, Honda has partnered with General Motors Co GM.N to develop two new EVs. The two are also working to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology.

CATL is building a battery plant in Germany and is considering expanding to North America. It has an office in Yokohama near Tokyo. Its Shenzhen-listed shares closed at about 200 yuan ($28.54) on Friday.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing, Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by David Evans, Himani Sarkar and David Clarke