Toyota said Tuesday it will invest another $8 billion into its first EV battery factory in North America, as the Japanese automaker tries to ramp up its electrification program and introduce 30 battery electric models globally by the end of the decade.
The North Carolina-based factory, which is slated to go into production in 2025, is now valued at $13.9 billion, according to the company. That’s a jump from Toyota’s initial plans to make a $1.29 billion investment to build a North American factory that will make batteries for hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles.
This latest investment will add eight battery electric and plug-in hybrid battery production lines to the facility located on 1,825 acres in Liberty, North Carolina. Once completed, the factory will have 10 lines and will reach a total production capacity of 30 GWh annually by 2030. To put that into perspective, the so-called Tesla gigafactory, which is a joint venture between the automaker and Panasonic, has the capacity to make 35 GWh of cells annually.
Toyota was long seen as a laggard in its commitment to moving its entire lineup to battery electric. The automaker, which has more recently ramped up its EV program, still stands by its approach to produce and sell a mix of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.
Toyota’s expansion plans come as other automakers tap the brakes on EVs. Ford and GM, both of which have made ambitious targets to convert most of their portfolios to all-electric vehicles, have tempered plans as demand for premium EVs has waned. These companies are still developing next-generation EVs, but have either delayed battery factory plans or the roll out of new EV models. Last week, Ford said it was delaying about $12 billion in EV-related investments.
Still, the EV factory boom is still chugging along, particularly in the so-called battery belt that stretches from Michigan down to South Carolina.
North Carolina has become a hotspot for EV battery factories and other facilities related to EVs. More than $11 billion has been invested in the EV industry in the state since 2020, including a $2 billion investment from Vietnamese auto manufacturer Vinfast and a Wolfspeed’s plan to build a $5 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant.
The Toyota plant is expected to employ more than 5,000 people, according to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
“Today’s announcement is yet another validation of North Carolina’s national recognition a hub for innovation, and a top location for electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers,” said Christopher Chung, CEO at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “Japanese investment has a significant impact in our state, with more than 28,000 North Carolinians going to work for Japanese companies every day. We value and appreciate the ongoing partnership our state has with Japan and the economic impact this partnership will continue to have.”