Toyota changes EV tuning, tripling funding for US battery factory

In a bizarre series of events, Toyota is changing its stance on electric vehicles as the Japanese automaker announced Wednesday it would triple its planned investment in a new battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina. increase.

Less than a week after Toyota Vice President Jack Hollis claimed that consumers didn’t want that level of electric vehicle, automakers began to turn.

President Biden sets goal of 50% U.S. EV market share by 2030, implements key incentives and rebates to make clean, sustainable energy options universally accessible doing.

A new inflation reduction law passed earlier this month offers tax incentives for EV buyers. New electric vehicles are eligible for credits of up to $7,500, while a used EV buyer can pay $4,000 on taxes.

But for a model to be eligible, automakers must source materials from U.S. free-trade partners and complete final assembly in North America.

Since the bill was signed, several major automakers have already signed contracts to lock down critical EV components. Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai have all announced plans to manufacture or source EV components in Canada or the United States.

Meanwhile, Japanese automakers such as Toyota, Honda and Subaru are lagging behind their peers as the auto industry transitions to EVs.

This week shows that even those who deny that EVs are the future are beginning to understand. First, Honda announced Monday that it will invest his $4.4 billion in a US battery plant in partnership with LG Energy. Now, Toyota is following in its footsteps, announcing its own plans to raise more money to build batteries on US soil.

Toyota Battery Factory-1
Location of Toyota’s battery plant in North Carolina Source: Toyota

Toyota commits to invest $2.5 billion more in North Carolina EV battery plant

Last year, Toyota partnered with Toyota Tsusho to build a battery plant in Liberty, North Carolina, investing $1.29 billion at the time.

Toyota today announced it would triple its funding for its NC battery plant, bringing the total to $3.8 billion.

Norm Bafunno, Senior Vice President of Unit Manufacturing and Engineering, Toyota Motor North America, said:

The plant will play a central role in Toyota’s leadership towards an all-electric future, helping it reach its goal of carbon neutrality in its fleet and global operations by 2035.

Toyota plans to start production at its battery plant in 2025, but the automaker isn’t planning to just produce EVs — it’s also planning to make hybrids.

That said, the Japanese car makers’ approach to electric vehicles has been relatively dismal so far. Toyota rolled out the first of his EV program, his bZ4X, but had to quickly recall them after several accidents with wheels falling off. It doesn’t look good.

Does today’s announcement indicate that Toyota is changing its tune? doing.

Electrek take

You can look at Toyota’s announcement today from a few different angles. Is the company stepping up its efforts because it truly believes EVs are the future? Or do you feel compelled because you are losing market share?

The latter sounds more realistic, as the history of automakers shows a tendency to get stuck in their ways. But $3.8 billion is still an important investment, so we also need to give credit where credit is due.

For Toyota, action is better than slow. It looks like Toyota has finally caught up, or at least publicly acknowledged that EVs are the future.

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