Toyota has been slow to jump on the electric-vehicle bandwagon but is now planning multiple models powered by batteries, including some to be built at its U.S. plants.
To ensure adequate local supply of batteries for these upcoming EVs as well as plug-in hybrids, Toyota in October announced plans to invest $3.4 billion in battery production in the U.S. through 2030. The investment is part of a wider global investment in battery development and production totaling $13.5 billion.
Here in the U.S., Toyota’s battery production will be overseen by a new company to be established by Toyota Motor North America in partnership with the Toyota Tsusho trading company. The new company will establish its first battery plant near Liberty, North Carolina, Toyota said on Monday. The state approved a $438.7 million tax incentive package to help cement the deal, according to local publication The News & Observer.
The plant, which will cost $1.29 billion, will supply batteries for hybrid vehicles and is due to be operational in 2025. Toyota estimates that around 1,750 jobs will be created once the plant is at full capacity. It will initially have the annual capacity to build batteries for 200,000 hybrids. Up to 1.2 million hybrids can be supplied when the plant is at full capacity, Toyota said.
2023 Toyota BZ4X
Toyota predicts that by 2030 around 70% of its sales will be electrified vehicles, which in the case of Toyota includes hybrid vehicles, battery-electric vehicles, and hydrogen-electric vehicles. To meet this target, Toyota is planning to offer 70 electrified vehicles by as early as 2025, with 15 of these to be powered by batteries.
Of these 15, seven will be models for Toyota’s recently launched BZ sub-brand for electric vehicles. The first is the 2023 BZ4X due on sale next summer alongside its 2023 Subaru Solterra twin. Toyota has also confirmed it is working on electric pickup trucks.
Toyota isn’t the only foreign automaker looking to establish U.S. battery plants. Stellantis said in October it will work with LG Energy Solution to build a battery plant with a 40-gigawatt-hour annual capacity in North America. The plant is expected to come online by early 2024. A location will be announced at a later date.
Hyundai Motor Group has also hinted at plans to build U.S. battery plants.