Toyota injects an extra $8 billion into US EV battery plant despite delays from Ford and GM

Despite recent EV delays from leading US automakers, Toyota is surprisingly charging ahead. Toyota is investing an additional $8 billion in its North Carolina EV battery plant. The new funding will add roughly 3,000 jobs as Toyota looks to accelerate its EV offensive.

Toyota announced plans to build a new electric vehicle battery plant in North Carolina in December 2021.

The initial plans called for a $1.25 billion investment, creating 1,750 jobs. Toyota’s most recent investment brings the total to around $13.9 billion.

Toyota said the new funding will add an additional 3,000 jobs, bringing the total to more than 5,000. The EV battery plant in NC will be the “epicenter” of North American battery production, according to Toyota. It will be over seven million square feet. That’s about 121 football fields.

Despite this, Toyota plans to continue its “multi-pathway approach,” including EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs. The investment will support eight extra BEV and PHEV battery production lines for 10 total. Meanwhile, HEVs will still have four battery lines.

Production will begin in a phased approach in 2025, with lines coming online through 2030. Once fully operational, Toyota expects output to reach over 30 GWh annually.

Construction at Toyota NC EV battery plant (Source: Toyota)

Toyota boosts EV battery plant funding while others delay

North Carolina Senator Phil Berger called the latest expansion “monumental.” The news comes despite leading American automakers, including Ford and GM, slowing EV investments.

Ford announced earlier this week it will push back around $12 billion in planned investments to boost EV manufacturing capacity. The automaker also cut one of three shifts at its Rouge EV plant in Michigan, where the F-150 Lightning is built.

Ford F-150 Lightning production (Source: Ford)

General Motors said it would delay Equinox EV, Silverado RST EV, and GMC Sierra EV Denali production to protect pricing.

Ford and GM both revealed plans to delay EV battery production in the US. Ford is pushing back production at its Kentucky plant, while GM said its Tennessee Ultium Cells plant will go online sometime in early 2024 rather than by the end of this year.

Electrek’s Take

Is Toyota planning to pull ahead of Ford and GM in the North American EV market? Who would’ve thought as Ford and GM put off EV investments, Toyota announced plans to increase its initial funding by over 1,000%?

Although Toyota is still investing in hybrid tech, the additional battery capacity will provide flexibility with production as needed.

Meanwhile, by delaying production, Ford and GM are setting themselves back. Even if the EV market goes through swings in the near term, the adoption rate is still expected to climb continuously.

Putting back investments now will only set them further back when the market accelerates. Other automakers, including Hyundai and Volvo, are sticking with their plans as they look toward the future of the industry.

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