NEW YORK: Toyota Motor has said it will boost investment by US$8bil and add about 3,000 jobs at its electric-vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina, accelerating the Japanese automaker’s push to electrify its lineup.
The company, which plans to have electrified options for all its models available by 2025, said the latest move will bring its total investment in the plant to about US$13.9bil and jobs to more than 5,000.
Legacy automakers such as Ford Motor and General Motors have been racing to ramp-up their EV output and close the gap with market leader Tesla, although both Detroit-based companies have scaled back their investment plans after reaching expensive new contract agreements with the United Auto Workers union.
Toyota did not disclose a breakup of the investment and was not immediately available for further comment.
Unlike global peers, Toyota had earlier bet on hybrids and hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles rather than battery EVs, but the world’s top-selling automaker this year announced a pivot, with plans to commercialise advanced batteries and adopt die-casting technology pioneered by Tesla.
Other companies such as Samsung SDI Co, Panasonic and Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV also plan to set up base in the United States to develop their battery plants.
Toyota’s North Carolina facility is set to begin operations in 2025 and will be the company’s first automotive battery plant globally.
It will have six battery production lines, four supporting hybrid vehicles such as the Prius, and two additional lines to support battery EVs.
North Carolina is emerging as a leading hub for EV and battery manufacturing, with new investments planned by companies ranging from Redwood Materials to Vietnam’s Vinfast. — Reuters