Toyota released a major update on its electrification plan in the United States, including an announcement of a new all-electric model and additional battery-related investments.
The Japanese company officially announced that an all-new, three-row, battery-electric SUV model will be assembled at its Toyota Kentucky plant, starting in 2025.
Toyota has not announced any details about the new model, underlying only its general commitment to vehicle electrification and building vehicles where it sells them.
The site in Georgetown, Kentucky is considered Toyota's largest manufacturing complex globally, with an annual manufacturing capacity of 550,000 vehicles, which currently produces Camry, Camry Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, and Lexus ES models, as well as internal-combustion engines (four- and six-cylinder). The Lexus ES will be phased out in 2025, leaving some space for the new BEV.
Battery Investments In North Carolina
Toyota also announced that the company’s first US-assembled BEV will be powered by batteries from Toyota North Carolina.
Let's recall that the new battery plant in North Carolina (for both hybrid and all-electric vehicles) is currently under construction with a plan to start production in 2025.
The site was previously confirmed for a $3.8 billion investment ($1.29 billion related to hybrids, and $2.5 billion related to BEVs), but according to the most recent announcement, Toyota will invest an additional $2.1 billion in battery production for BEVs. This move will bring the total to nearly $6 billion and six production lines (including two for BEV's batteries).
- $1.29 billion investment by 2031 (related to HEVs)
- $2.5 billion investment (related to BEVs)
- $2.1 billion investment (related to BEVs) [New]
Total: $5.9 billion investment total (HEVs + BEVs)
The amount of the investment clearly indicates that the site will produce not only battery modules/packs, but also lithium-ion battery cells. Currently, there are no details about the battery chemistry or cell form factor.
"The facility will be Toyota’s hub for developing and producing lithium-ion batteries needed for its expanding portfolio of electrified vehicles."
Two production lines for BEV batteries indicate some serious volume and very likely a potential to handle more than one model.
At this time, the company does not reveal any details about the batteries themselves or the manufacturing capacity (in terms of gigawatt-hours).
Ted Ogawa, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America said:
“We are committed to reducing carbon emissions as much as possible and as soon as possible. To achieve this goal, customers must have access to a portfolio of options that meet their needs now and in the future. It is exciting to see our largest U.S. plant, Toyota Kentucky, and our newest plant, Toyota North Carolina, drive us into the future together with BEV and battery production for our expanding electrified lineup.”
Currently, Toyota offers only one all-electric model - the Toyota bZ4X (two, if we count the Lexus RZ 450e separately), imported from Japan, which does not qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit, under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). With local production of BEVs and battery sourcing, Toyota should be able to fully benefit from the incentive.
In total, Toyota offers 22 electrified - xEVs (BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs, FCEVs) - models in the United States, across the Toyota and Lexus brands.
Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (under construction)
Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC) in brief:
- JV: Toyota Motor North America (90%), Toyota Tsusho (10%)
Established: November 2021
- Capital: $468 million (excluding equipment costs)
$1.29 billion investment by 2031 (related to HEVs)
$2.5 billion investment (related to BEVs)
$2.1 billion investment (related to BEVs) [New]
$5.9 billion investment total (HEVs + BEVs)
- location: Greensboro-Randolph Megasite near Liberty, North Carolina
- No. of Employees: roughly 2,100 total (planned)
- Business areas: Automotive battery manufacturing for electrified vehicles
(battery systems for hybrids and battery-electric vehicles)
- batter pack production start: 2025
- capacity (HEV battery systems): initially 4 production lines (each up to 200,000 battery packs per year and up to 800,000 per year total)
at least six production lines and 1.2 million battery packs per year at a later point
- capacity (BEV battery systems): N/A