Toyota will build electric vehicles in the United States as early as 2025 at its Kentucky plant, which is currently the company’s biggest manufacturing facility worldwide.
The report comes via Nikkei, which writes that Toyota’s new president, Koji Sato, has signaled that pivoting towards EVs will become a priority during his tenure after the Japanese brand got its share of criticism for being late to the electrification game and arguing against EV-only extremists.
Despite being the world’s biggest carmaker, Toyota only made about 24,000 EVs under its own and the Lexus brands in 2022, while Tesla sold more than 1 million cars in the same year.
In the not-too-distant past, the Japanese marque’s chief scientist said that going full-EV isn’t the answer to reducing carbon emissions, as a lot of people don’t use the full capacity of an EV's battery, and that the solution is a more diversified approach, with smaller batteries fitted to more cars, which basically means more hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
Now, in a bid to capitalize on the new government incentives offered in the United States, Toyota plans on upgrading its Kentucky manufacturing plant to produce 10,000 electric SUVs monthly by the end of 2025 and as many as 200,000 units annually from 2026.
Gallery: 2023 Toyota bZ4X: Review
It’s worth noting that the company will continue building internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrids alongside EVs, but only the battery-powered cars will benefit from the $7,500 tax credit for zero-emission vehicles made in the United States. And with a battery plant under construction in North Carolina that’s slated to become operational in 2025, Toyota will make electrics entirely in America, from small components to final assembly.
The Japanese brand currently sells a single all-electric model in the States, the bZ4X, which has an estimated range of 252 miles, but the company’s new CEO has pledged to “drastically” accelerate the rollout of new EVs, a move that will center around a next-generation platform which is expected to arrive around 2026.
Lexus, which is Toyota’s luxury brand, has a different approach, pledging to go full-electric globally by 2035 and selling 1 million EVs worldwide in 2030. At the same time, Toyota as a whole wants to sell as many as 3.5 million EVs in that time frame.