Toyota is making a substantial $8 billion investment in its inaugural electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in North America, marking a pivotal moment in the Japanese automaker's electrification journey. With the goal of introducing 30 battery electric models worldwide by the end of the decade, Toyota is taking significant steps to enhance its EV production capacity.
This factory, located in North Carolina and scheduled to commence production in 2025, has now been valued at an impressive $13.9 billion. This substantial investment surpasses Toyota's initial plan to allocate $1.29 billion to create a North American facility producing batteries for both hybrid and battery electric vehicles.
The latest investment will usher in eight battery electric and plug-in hybrid battery production lines within the factory, situated on 1,825 acres in Liberty, North Carolina. Upon completion, the facility is expected to host a total of 10 production lines, with an annual production capacity of 30 GWh by 2030. To provide perspective, the renowned Tesla gigafactory, a collaboration between Tesla and Panasonic, has a similar annual cell production capacity of 35 GWh.
While Toyota has previously been perceived as a slow mover in the EV sector, the automaker is affirming its unique strategy to produce and sell a combination of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles.
These expansion plans by Toyota are in contrast to some other automakers that have scaled back their EV ambitions due to shifting demand for premium EVs. Despite ongoing development of next-generation EVs, companies like Ford and GM have either delayed battery factory projects or the rollout of new electric models. Just recently, Ford announced a delay in approximately $12 billion of EV-related investments.
Despite these challenges, the momentum in EV factory development remains strong, particularly in the region known as the "battery belt," extending from Michigan to South Carolina. North Carolina, in particular, has emerged as a hub for EV battery factories and related EV facilities, attracting over $11 billion in investments since 2020. Notably, Toyota's North Carolina plant is expected to generate more than 5,000 job opportunities, further reinforcing the state's position as a top destination for electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
In summary, Toyota's substantial investment reaffirms its commitment to advancing electrification and further strengthens North Carolina's status as a prominent hub in the fast-evolving electric vehicle industry.