Tesla battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), which provides cells for Gigafactory Shanghai’s vehicles, has put its foot down on recent rumors alleging that it is forcing its employees to purchase “defective” Tesla vehicles. The statement was related by the battery maker to the Global Times on Sunday.
The rumors about CATL’s alleged practices came from an anonymous staff worker from the battery company, who made some controversial claims on China’s Quora-like Zhihu online platform. According to the anonymous staff worker, CATL has been instructing its employees to buy Teslas at a discount. These vehicles were allegedly “defective” in quality, and thus, cannot be resold on the market.
The anonymous staff worker further claimed that the defective vehicles were sold by Tesla China to CATL to reduce inventory. This is a substantial claim, and one that most certainly caught its own round of controversy. In its statement to the Times, however, CATL denied these rumors.
CATL stated that it would continue to carry out its electrification initiatives. One of these initiatives involves encouraging employees to purchase emissions-free electric cars at a discounted price, with the vehicles being subsidized by the company. The battery maker also noted that the program has been in place for three years, and it covers a range of electric vehicle makers, including Tesla.
CATL was only founded in 2011, but the battery maker has hit its stride. The company has supplied batteries to numerous auto brands, from foreign companies like Tesla, BMW, and Volkswagen to local automakers like Geely. CATL’s stock price has performed remarkably in the past 12 months as well, jumping over 150% at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Tesla has been dealing with a wave of negative publicity in China, which came to a head in the Shanghai Auto Show when a former Model 3 owner held a public protest on top of one of the automaker’s display units. Tesla China’s legal department has since adopted an assertive stance against false rumors and misinformation online. This has so far resulted in some local media outletsadmitting to publishing reports with zero evidence and social media users admitting to staging negative videos about the company.