Toyota to invest $5.6 billion in electric vehicle battery production

TOKYO — Electric vehicle laggard Toyota said it will spend about $5.6 billion to manufacture more electric vehicle batteries in the United States and Japan, including increased capacity at a plant recently announced in North Carolina, as the automaker catches up on all-electric offerings.

The new investment, which totals 730 billion yen, will increase Toyota’s global battery supply by up to 40 gigawatt hours, the company said in a press release on Wednesday.

Slightly more than half of the expenditure will be invested in a battery plant in the city of Himeji, in western Japan, as well as in other Toyota sites in Japan.

The balance, about $2.5 billion, will increase capacity at the North Carolina site.

Toyota Motor North America announced an initial $1.3 billion investment in the battery plant in Liberty, North Carolina, in December, saying it would eventually produce enough lithium-ion batteries to power up to to 1.2 million vehicles per year. Production is expected to start in 2025.

The new investment will increase production at the plant, Toyota said.

The US plant is a joint venture between Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Tsusho. The Japanese plant is operated by Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, a partnership with Panasonic.

Toyota’s multi-billion dollar investment bolsters its strategy to sell 3.5 million electric vehicles a year by 2030 across the Toyota and Lexus brands. Lexus will transform into an electric-only brand in Europe, the United States and China in 2030, when it expects to be ready to sell 1 million electric vehicles a year.

Thereafter, Lexus will only offer fully electric vehicles globally by 2035.

Mary I. Bruner