For the last decade, the policy of most legacy automakers has been to talk big about EVs, while doing little or nothing to sell any. Now, ironically, Toyota may be turning this time-honored formula backwards. The company broadcasts anti-EV misinformation in TV ads and executive speeches, and lobbies governments to water down support for EV adoption, but meanwhile it hedges its bets, developing new EVs for the Chinese market and doing battery research with partners such as Panasonic and BYD.
Now Toyota has announced that it will invest some $3.4 billion through 2030 to develop and localize production of automotive batteries in the US. This is part of a total global investment of around $13.5 billion for battery development and production that the company announced last month.
Toyota will establish a new company and build an automotive battery plant together with Toyota Tsusho in the US. The project includes an investment of approximately $1.29 billion between now and 2031, which includes funds to develop land and build facilities. The goal is to start production in 2025.
The new company will also work to develop Toyota’s local supply chain for automotive batteries. The venture will first focus on producing batteries for hybrid vehicles, but the announcement did include a brief mention of battery EVs.
Toyota says electrified vehicles (hybrids, PHEVs and fuel cell vehicles) account for nearly 25 percent of its US sales volume, and that it expects that figure to rise to nearly 70 percent by 2030. Toyota plans to expand its lineup of electrified vehicles from 55 models today to about 70 models by 2025, of which 15 will be battery EVs.
“Toyota’s commitment to electrification is about achieving long-term sustainability for the environment, American jobs and consumers,” said Toyota Motor North America CEO Ted Ogawa. “This investment will help usher in more affordable electrified vehicles for U.S. consumers, significantly reduce carbon emissions, and importantly, create even more American jobs tied to the future of mobility.”