Toyota Eyes U.S. Battery Factory

3 weeks ago by Eric Loveday 11

toyota Prius Prime

Primearth EV Energy, a subsidiary of Toyota, has made it known that the automaker may construct a lithium-ion battery factory in the U.S.

The batteries would support Toyota’s plug-in hybrid and future pure electric vehicles.

The New Toyota Prius Plug-in aka Prius Prime

Nothing is confirmed at this point in time, but Ward’s reports the following:

“…a company official tells WardsAuto Toyota wants to produce its own batteries for both hybrids and battery-electric vehicles, and the plant’s green light will be linked to future North American sales as the automaker begins shifting to Li-ion from nickel-metal-hydride.

There also is concern within the automaker that shipping lithium batteries from Japan to the U.S. could present quality risks.”

The source suggests that a factory in the U.S. is at least a few years away as employee training would have to commence first, followed by construction and so on.

Ward’s adds:

“Toyota is expected to source Li-ion batteries for the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid EV from Panasonic until the early part of the next decade. The automaker does not yet have a BEV on the market, but several models reportedly are in the pipeline.”

Primearth’s Ohmori plant in Japan is operating at approximately 50% capacity in regards to lithium-ion battery output, so there’s room for expansion there. However its NiMH lines are at full capacity.

Primeearth says that NiMH has hit the end of its road in terms of cost and performance, so a switch over to li-ion seems inevitable.

Of note from Ward’s:

“Formed in 1996 as a joint venture between Toyota and Matsushita Electric Industrial (subsequently renamed Panasonic) Primearth is owned 80.5% by Toyota. Panasonic holds a 19.5% share.”

Source: Ward’s Auto

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11 responses to "Toyota Eyes U.S. Battery Factory"

  1. ffbj says:

    Yeah, they want to, and probably will, sell a lot of Primes here. Also ready for their ev, when it comes out.
    It seems Toyota has finally deciphered the hand-writing on the wall, which says EV is the Future, not the Murai.

    1. Or, that EV’s are NOW, and an easier sell, now that everyone else is solving the local and long distance charging challenges, no thanks to Toyota on that effort!

      1. RAV4 EV says:

        Exactly! I have had my RAV4 EV 4 years now. The local dealerships still refuse to service it. The different dealers that I have teken it to all say that it restriction flows down from Toyota HQ.

        Toyota is Anti EV’s they are now just trying to catch up.

  2. SJC says:

    The Toyota/Mazda EVs will need batteries.

  3. ffbj says:

    LG Chem, is going to build one too, to support the Bolt. Probably in Michigan.

  4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I don’t think this means that much, without any indication of volume. If the factory is just a middling size, one that will supply only the Prius Prime, then it doesn’t mean much as far as the growth of PEV (Plug-in EV) sales.

    However, we can hope that the battery factory Toyota plans is much larger, or that they plan for multiple factories; and that this is an indication they plan to put more models of PEVs into production. Despite Toyota’s ongoing propaganda campaign against BEVs and in favor of “fool cell” cars, we can hope the executives running Toyota know better, and realize that BEVs are the future of the automobile industry — despite what Toyota’s marketing keeps saying.

    1. speculawyer says:

      They definitely are working on some pure EVs now. They’ve finally realized they can’t put all their eggs in the fuel cell basket as that basket is failing.

      1. SJC says:

        Fuel cells are a “halo” program from a company with LOTS of money.

  5. speculawyer says:

    So a standard Li-Ion battery?

    Not showing much faith in your solid-state batteries, eh?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I would be shocked, SHOCKED to discover that Toyota’s solid state batteries are just vaporware! 😉

  6. William Edwards says:

    I thought Toyota was dumping Li-Ion in a few years? So does this mean they are going to sell cars with NiMH, Li-Ion AND Solid State batteries?

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