Toyota Confirms Kentucky Plant for First Domestic EV
On Wednesday, Toyota Motor Corp. confirmed that its first U.S.-made all-electric vehicle will be assembled in Kentucky starting in 2025. The Georgetown facility is the automaker’s largest in the world and will be incorporating a three-row EV into its production lines once Toyota’s battery plant in North Carolina is completed.
“We are committed to reducing carbon emissions as much as possible and as soon as possible,” stated Ted Ogawa, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America. “To achieve this goal, customers must have access to a portfolio of options that meet their needs now and in the future. It is exciting to see our largest U.S. plant, Toyota Kentucky, and our newest plant, Toyota North Carolina, drive us into the future together with BEV and battery production for our expanding electrified lineup.”
The new battery plant, which is still under construction and scheduled to open in 2025, will receive an additional $2.1 billion investment to “support the company’s drive toward carbon neutrality.”
Automotive News suggested that this was a direct result of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which passed last year and incentivized North American EV and battery manufacturing. By allocating taxpayer dollars, the Biden administration has hoped to localize battery production in an effort to outmaneuver China which presently dominates global battery production. But that presumes EVs will become the dominant mode of transportation, which is something the White House has also tried to ensure by setting a goal of having 50 percent of new vehicle purchases be electric by 2030.
Whatever your feelings on the overarching scheme, it seems to have worked more-or-less as intended. Automakers and suppliers have announced more than $50 billion in EV and battery investments for North America since the act passed last summer.
From Automotive News:
Toyota, which has been later than is rivals to the EV race, plans to release 10 models globally by 2026.
The automaker will invest more than $37 billion in EV development and production through decade's end.
Toyota anticipates it will reach EV sales of 1.5 million in 2026 with the help of a newly developed vehicle platform it says will double driving range, thanks to more efficient battery use, and require half the investment and development resources.
Though we don’t know very much about the Kentucky EV in question. It’ll undoubtedly be a larger model, catering to American tastes. But, beyond news that it’ll come with third-row seating, it’s a giant mystery. The only real hint we have is that the Toyota bZ5X concept (top of the page) exists and appears to be a larger version of the bZ4X (think Highlander sized) with space for additional seating.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) is currently responsible for the Camry, RAV4, and Lexus ES. Engine assembly for the four-cylinder A25A-FKS and A25A-FXS hybrid also takes place at TMMK. The automaker is spending an estimated $461 million to retool the plant to build larger EVs.
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