TOKYO – Electric vehicle laggard Toyota says it will plow about $5.6 billion into making more EV batteries in the U.S. and Japan, including increased capacity at a recently-announced plant in North Carolina, as the automaker plays catch up on all-electric offerings.
The new investment, which totals 730 billion yen, will boost Toyota’s global battery supply by up to 40 gigawatt hours, the company said in a news release on Wednesday.
A little more than half of the outlay will be invested in a battery plant in the western Japanese city of Himeji as well as other Toyota sites around Japan.
The balance, about $2.5 billion, will boost capacity at the North Carolina site.
Toyota Motor North America announced an initial $1.3 billion investment in the Liberty, North Carolina battery plant in December, saying it would eventually produce enough lithium ion batteries to power up to 1.2 million vehicles per year. Production is expected to begin in 2025.
The new investment will augment output at the plant, Toyota said.
The U.S. plant is a joint venture between Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Tsusho. The Japan 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 U.S. and China in 2030, when it plans to be prepared to sell 1 million EVs annually.
Following that, Lexus will offer nothing but full-electric vehicles worldwide by 2035.