Shortly after announcing that it was pushing back plans to produce 600k EVs annually by 2024 and two million by 2026, Ford also revealed that it will delay $12 billion in planned investments slated for the second BlueOval SK battery plant in Kentucky, as well as BlueOval Battery Park Michigan and other ventures – or possibly ditch those plans altogether, depending on what happens over the coming years as EV adoption has been slower than expected, all while prices are proving too high for consumers’ tastes. Ford isn’t alone in that regard, as General Motors is also scaling back its EV production goals, though both Volkswagen and Hyundai are forging ahead as planned. On the other hand, Toyota – which has long shunned EVs in favor of hybrids – did an about face earlier this year, announcing new EV plans involving the creation of a slew of new models, longer range battery packs, and a deal with LG Energy. Now, Toyota has announced that it is investing $8 billion in a new battery plant, too.
This latest multi-billion dollar investment will go toward the Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina (TBMNC), which is located in Liberty – a town that’s around 20 miles southeast of Greensboro. The plant is expected to employ around 3,000 new workers once it becomes fully operational, bringing Toyota’s total electrification investment up to $13.9 billion and job creation to more than 5,000. The Liberty site was originally announced back in 2021 with a planned investment of $1.29 billion and the creation of 1,750 new jobs, and Toyota broke ground on the new facility back in 2022.
This new investment will add two production lines to the two that were previously announced for TBMNC, bringing the total up to 10 EV/PHEV battery lines, plus four specifically for hybrid vehicles. Toyota will slowly ramp up production over the coming years through 2030, when it expects to reach 30 GWh annually.
“Through the last few years of building relationships, including my most recent trip to Tokyo and meeting with President Sato, our partnership with Toyota has become stronger than ever, culminating in this historic announcement,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “North Carolina’s transition to a clean energy economy is bringing better paying jobs that will support our families and communities for decades to come.”