More Batteries for More Toyotas
While Toyota’s garnered some criticism about its conservative approach to fully-electric vehicles, there is no doubt that the company is all-in on electrification. Even as the bZ4X electric crossover sells in relatively small numbers compared to vehicles like the Tesla Model Y and Hyundai Ioniq 5, Toyota is selling record numbers of hybrids. The Prius is a consistent hot seller, and even better in its latest generation; and hybrids constitute a huge share of sales of the popular RAV4 and Highlander models, with a new hybrid Tacoma on the way. And while some critics wish that Toyota would transition more quickly to fully-electric models, there’s no question that the largest auto manufacturer is probably electrifying more vehicles on the road than any other.
New Toyota Battery Manufacturing Plant: 3,000 Jobs in North Carolina
Indeed, such is the demand for batteries for popular Toyota hybrid models, and future electric models, that the company recently announced a massive additional investment in its new Toyota Battery Manufacturing plant in North Carolina. Kicked off with over $5 billion of investment and creating 2,000 jobs, the plant will be significantly expanded – with an additional $8 billion and approximately 3,000 more jobs over the next several years.
Toyota says that the extra investment will add capacity at the North Carolina facility to support both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Making batteries locally, so that they can be installed in North American-made Toyota models, will ensure those vehicles are eligible for attractive federal tax incentives.
Supporting North American Production of EVs
The North Carolina battery plant was designed originally to have four battery production lines to support hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) such as the RAV4, Sienna, Highlander, Prius, Camry, and upcoming Tacoma. The additional investment will triple the size of the production facility, adding eight production lines for batteries destined for electric vehicles (EVs) like the bZ4X and future models, as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) such as the Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime.
Toyota says that production capacity will be ramped up in phases, with new lines opening between now and 2030. Once at full capacity, the factory should be able to pump out 30 GWh (gigawatt-hours) of battery capacity on an annual basis, enough to supply batteries for hundreds of thousands of vehicles. Indeed, the facility, which was announced in 2021, will become Toyota’s epicenter for battery production in North America, and will cover a footprint of over 120 football fields.
Solid State Batteries Coming
By 2025, Toyota plans to have electrified options available for every vehicle it makes around the world. By 2030, it will have launched several all-electric models as well, some featuring new solid-state battery technology that should significantly increase range estimates as well as reduced charging time. That’s in addition to the almost 25 million electrified vehicles the company has already produced, and which are already reducing carbon emissions, with every day and every mile driven.