Toyota to Build a ‘Multi-Billion Dollar' EV Battery Plant in North Carolina, its First in the U.S.

Toyota to Build a ‘Multi-Billion Dollar' EV Battery Plant in North Carolina, its First in the U.S.

Author: Eric Walz   

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp is investing billions to build an EV battery factory in North Carolina, state officals announced on Monday. The plant will employ roughly 1,750 workers from 2025 to 2029, making it one of the largest manufacturing investments in the state's history, according to North Carolina's Commerce Department.

North Carolina's Economic Investment Committee approved an inventive package worth $438.7 million for Toyota at a special meeting in Raleigh on Monday. 

The plant will start production in 2025 and expand operations by 2031. It will supply the batteries for Toyota's future U.S.-built models.

Toyota's planned investment in the facility will be the largest capital investment in state history, sources told local news outlet ABC11. The facility will first focus on producing batteries for Toyota's hybrid-electric vehicles.

The lithium battery manufacturing plant will be built at the 1,800-acre plot called the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite in the town of Liberty, N.C., a small town in Randolph County, NC that is home to one of the designated areas the state markets to potential large manufacturing operations.

The site is located around an hour's drive outside the region known as the The Research Triangle, or the "The Triangle", which is the nickname for the metropolitan area in the Piedmont region of North Carolina in the United States, anchored by three major research universities, North Carolina State University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Toyota announced in October that it will invest approximately $3.4 billion in automotive battery production and said its would build a battery facility in the U.S. to manufacture hybrid and electric vehicle batteries for its future electric models. But at the time, the company didn't disclose a location.

The investment in North Carolina is part of a larger $13.5 billion sum set aside for Toyota's global investment in battery development and production.

"Toyota's commitment to electrification is about achieving long-term sustainability for the environment, American jobs and consumers," said Ted Ogawa, chief executive officer, Toyota Motor North America in OCtober when the plans were first announced. "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."

The automaker is aiming for around 70% of its vehicles to be electrified by 2030. Electrified vehicles currently account for nearly 25% of Toyota's U.S. sales volume.

By 2030, Toyota expects to sell between 1.5 million to 1.8 million electrified vehicles in the U.S. 

The region in North Carolina is one of the few areas in the U.S. that's rich in lithium deposits, a key component of electric vehicle batteries. Geologists dubbed the region the "Carolina tin-Spodumene Belt". Mines in the region were a major global supplier of lithium between the 1950s through 1980s, until battery production moved overseas.

The area is also home to Piedmont Lithium, an emerging company that aims to become a strategic domestic supplier of lithium to the increasing electric vehicle and battery storage markets in the U.S. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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