Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Hefei Guoxuan High Tech Power Energy (Gotion) agreed to invest US$1.3bn to build a plant in Morocco, according to local reports citing government sources.

The North African country is positioning itself to become a key supplier of batteries to help meet rising global demand for EVs with free trade agreements currently in place with the EU and the US.

China’s Hunan Zhongke Shinzoom Technology recently agreed to invest US$460m to build a battery anode plant in the country while another Chinese company, CNGR Advanced Materials, was also understood to be planning to build a battery cathode plant just south of Casablanca.

Recently, the Moroccan government reportedly gave the go ahead to Chinese battery materials producer BTR New Material Group to build a factory near Tangier to produce cathode materials.

Gotion, 26% owned by the Volkswagen group, is China’s fourth largest EV battery manufacturer specialising in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.

VW is a major customer, along with other China based EV manufacturers.

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The company recently opened an EV battery plant in Germany and is currently building plants in the US and south east Asia.

According to the Moroccan government, Gotion recently signed an agreement to build a factory with an initial production capacity of 20 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, with plans to eventually increase this to 100GWh with total investments rising to US$6.5bn.