Toyota’s investment in a huge plant to build electric vehicle batteries in North Carolina is climbing to nearly double – $2.5 billion -from its originally planned investment.
The larger investment also means another 350 jobs, the company says.
In an announcement made in Tokyo early Wednesday the auto giant said it is investing $5.6 billion in Japan and the US to boost production of batteries for EVs. The total to be spent in the US for the Triad factory originally was announced as $1.3 billion. That amount already was the largest private investment made in the state.
“This marks another significant milestone for our company,” said Norm Bafunno, senior vice president, Unit Manufacturing and Engineering at Toyota Motor North America, in the announcement. “This plant will serve a central role in Toyota’s leadership toward a fully electrified future and will help us meet our goal of carbon neutrality in our vehicles and global operations by 2035.”
Production is set to start between 2024 and 2026.
Toyota broke down the spending as:
- In Japan, 400 billion yen ($3 billion) will go into the Himeji Plant of Prime Planet Energy & Solutions Co. in Japan, as well as in Toyota plants and property.
- In the US, about 325 billion yen ($2.5 billion) will be invested in Toyota Battery Manufacturing in North Carolina.
Toyota announced plans for a plant in Randolph County last December to make batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles.
The plant, which is expected to begin production in 2025, will be Toyota’s first US battery plant and at that time marked the largest private investment in North Carolina history.
“This is an exciting time for Toyota, the region and the many North Carolinians we will soon employ,” said Sean Suggs, the president of Toyota’s battery operation in NC. growth for the Triad region.”
Original plans called for the hiring of at least 1,750 workers at the plant to produce 1.2 million batteries a year, according to Christopher Reynolds, chief administrative officer of Toyota Motor Corp. of North America.
“Toyota could have chosen anywhere in the United States for this first battery place, and they chose us,” Gov. Roy Cooper said during an announcement ceremony. “We’re encouraging more electric vehicles on the road and in our state government fleet, and as all of this progress continues, the world will look at North Carolina as a hub of clean energy and clean-energy jobs.”
Toyota to build $1.3B battery plant for EVs, hybrids in Triad
Toyota has scored success with the Prius and other hybrid models, which have an engine as well as a battery-driven electric motor, and so the company has at times been seen as a laggard on electric vehicles. But the global demand for electric vehicles is expected to grow in coming years as gas prices rise and concerns grow about the environment.
Earlier this week, Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. announced with major South Korean battery maker LG that they were investing $4.4 billion in a joint venture in the United States to produce batteries for Honda electric vehicles in the North American market, with mass production of advanced lithium-ion battery cells to start by the end of 2025.
TOYOTA IS HIRING
From the company: Toyota North Carolina is seeking motivated individuals to join its leadership team. To view and apply for open positions, visit www.toyota.com/careers. Production and maintenance employee positions will be available in early 2023.
Toyota reiterated its position that “there is more than one option for achieving carbon neutrality,” highlighting how its efforts with hybrids and fuel cells run on hydrogen can also be solutions. The options may depend on where a customer lives, according to the manufacturer, based in the city of Toyota in central Japan.
“This investment is aimed at enabling Toyota to flexibly meet the needs of its various customers in all countries and regions by offering multiple powertrains and providing as many options as possible,” it said in a statement.
Other automakers, including Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, Stellantis and VinFast have announced plans for US battery plants.
A new US law offers an incentive to build batteries in North America, including a tax credit of up to $7,500 that could be used to defray the cost of buying an electric vehicle. To qualify for the full credit, the electric vehicle must contain a battery built in North America with 40% of the metals mined or recycled on the continent.