Toyota is more than doubling its investment in a Greensboro, North Carolina-area plant to make batteries for fully electric and plug-in hybrid models, in a sign the Japanese carmaker expects U.S. demand for those vehicles to grow.
Production at the new plant, which is under construction, will be expanded by eight battery manufacturing lines in addition to the previously announced two lines, bringing Toyota’s total spending on the facility to $13.9 billion, the company said Tuesday in a statement.
The nearly $8 billion in added investment comes just five months after the firm boosted spending at the plant by $2.1 billion.
Toyota has adopted a more cautious approach to all-electric vehicles than many of its global peers, but has quietly laid the groundwork for a more robust EV strategy in the U.S. even as sales of its hybrid gas-electric models are surging. It currently sells two fully electric models in the U.S. — the five-seat Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ 450e — both of which are manufactured in Japan.
The facility’s batteries will be used in several models, including a new three-row all-electric SUV to be made at Toyota’s Kentucky assembly factory starting in 2025 — its first U.S.-made EV. The battery plant, which was announced two years ago, also is scheduled to begin output in 2025. Toyota said the Liberty, North Carolina, site will employ more than 5,000 workers.
Toyota owns 90% of the facility with the remaining stake held by affiliated trading company Toyota Tsusho, according to a U.S. spokesperson for the automaker.