News Articles

North Carolina selected for Toyota’s first battery plant, creating 1,750 jobs

December 8, 2021

Toyota announced Monday it would build a new, $1.29 billion battery manufacturing plant in Liberty, N.C., as part of a previously announced $3.4 billion investment in U.S. electric vehicle production.

Described as a “megasite” by Toyota, the plant will begin producing batteries in 2025 with four production lines expected to pump out enough lithium-ion batteries for 800,000 vehicles annually. Toyota intends to eventually expand production from four to six lines to support a total of 1.2 million vehicles a year. The facility, named Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina, is anticipated to create 1,750 jobs. It’s Toyota’s first such factory. The company said the $1.29 million investment is projected to be made through 2031, indicating that additional production lines may not be immediately built out.

Toyota is forming a new company for its battery production with its subsidiary Toyota Tsusho, which makes parts for the automaker.

 When the investment was announced in October, Texas was seen as a likely finalist for the new battery plant from Toyota. The state is already home to a number of Toyota facilities and offices, including its North American headquarters in Plano and a Toyota Tundra plant in San Antonio.

Toyota reportedly began focusing on North Carolina as the site for the plant in November, according to Bloomberg.

“North Carolina offers the right conditions for this investment, including the infrastructure, high-quality education system, access to a diverse and skilled workforce, and a welcoming environment for doing business,” Ted Ogawa, Toyota Motor North America CEO, said in a statement. “Today marks the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership with the Tar Heel state as we embark on our journey to achieve carbon neutrality and provide mobility for all.”

Toyota said the factors that led it to choose North Carolina included strong government partnership at the state and local levels, a world-renowned education system, a diverse workforce, onsite rail transportation, four international airports and access to seaports, and a well-maintained highway system.

The company hasn’t indicated how it will spend the remainder of the previously announced investment, though Bloomberg reports it may go toward another battery plant. Outside Texas, further investment might land in close proximity to existing company operations in Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana.

Elected officials and economic development professionals touted the Toyota deal as emblematic of the talented workforce located in North Carolina.

“We’re increasing our infrastructure, we’re bringing more electric buses online, we’re encouraging more EVs on the road and in our government fleet,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “The world will look at North Carolina as a hub for clean energy and clean energy jobs.”

The Randolph County package would result in an estimated $65 million in property tax rebates and the transfer of megasite land to the company, should it invest $1 billion and create at least 1,750 jobs with average salaries of more than $62,000, according to a Randolph economic development official. The return to the company would grow if a second phase of the project occurs — a $3 billion investment and more than 3,800 jobs in total.

 An economic panel that must approve a separate state package of cash awards to companies seeking to build in North Carolina was to meet later Monday morning.

The North Carolina legislature has already promised to spend $135 million on road work and wetland improvements and would reimburse $185 million the company spends on similar upgrades if the second phase happens.

Toyota estimates its vehicle sales will be 70% EV and zero emission hydrogen vehicles by 2030, and it plans to sell nearly 2 million of the vehicles worldwide in that timeframe.

Currently in the U.S., Toyota offers hydrogen vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrid powertrains but no vehicles powered solely by batteries. That has drawn criticism from environmental groups that accuse the company of dragging its feet on the technology. Toyota said it will have 15 battery-powered vehicles for sale globally by 2025.

The announcement comes as automakers race to build North American battery factories to supply what is expected to be an exponentially increasing demand for electric vehicles as the world transitions away from internal combustion engines.

Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, has said it will build two battery plants in North America. Ford announced three plants in Kentucky and Tennessee, and General Motors has said it would build four battery cell factories. Only two of those locations have been announced, in Ohio and Tennessee.

The LMC Automotive consulting firm expects U.S. sales of new fully electric vehicles to hit nearly 400,000 this year, almost double last year’s figures. But they still make up only about 2.6% of sales. The firm expects sales to grow to more than 730,000 next year and more than 2 million by 2025. Even at 2 million, EV sales still would be only about 12% of U.S. new vehicle sales.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden got a commitment from the auto industry to produce electric vehicles for as much as half of U.S. new vehicle sales by 2030.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Toyota to Build $1.25 Billion Electric-Vehicle Battery Plant in North Carolina

December 8, 2021

Toyota Motor Corp. TM -2.73% is set to invest $1.25 billion and create 1,750 jobs with a new electric-vehicle battery plant in rural North Carolina, according to a public incentives deal approved Monday.

State and local governments offered an incentive package of more than $435 million over 20 years if the project in Randolph County meets investment benchmarks. The new plant, called Toyota TM -2.78% Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina, is slated to start production in 2025. The jobs would pay roughly $62,000 a year on average, according to the state.

The development would be a boon to North Carolina, which has been the rare Southern state without a major auto production or electric-vehicle battery facility. The state has lagged behind neighboring South Carolina.

Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky have become major players in a region of the U.S. that increasingly dominates auto production at the expense of traditional strongholds such as Detroit.

State and local economic-development groups in North Carolina have spent a decade grading land, moving utility lines and annexing acreage to prepare a shovel-ready 1,825-acre site 25 miles south of Greensboro in hopes of landing an auto company. North Carolina had repeatedly lost out to states with an auto-making footprint, most notably in 2018 when Toyota and Mazda Motor Corp. cited proximity to auto suppliers in picking Alabama for a $1.6 billion assembly plant.

Toyota has been an electric-vehicle skeptic, one of the few major auto makers without a fully electric vehicle in wide distribution in the U.S. Its North Carolina plans reflect the mounting pressure on global auto makers to develop and sell battery-powered cars. Toyota, the world’s largest car maker by vehicle sales, had long viewed hybrid gas-electric vehicles as preferable to pure electric cars because of the difficulty of making and charging batteries suitable for such vehicles.

Earlier this fall, Toyota said it would spend $9 billion to build battery factories as it ramps up to sell two million electric vehicles annually by the end of the decade. Toyota, like Ford Motor Co. and other rivals, is opting to build its batteries in-house, a bet on the merits of controlling its own supply rather than relying on an outside supplier.

Analysts say energy costs are a major consideration for battery facilities, because they use up to five times as much energy as a typical auto plant. Randolph County is in a former textile region in the center of the state known for its access to plentiful water and cheap energy. According to local economic development managers, utility rates are up to 30% less than the U.S. national average.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Toyota named as company coming to Greensboro-Randolph Megasite

December 7, 2021

Toyota named as company coming to Greensboro-Randolph Megasite

The company that will this afternoon announce a more than $1 billion project at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite has now been made public.

During this morning’s meeting of the North Carolina Department of Commerce Economic Incentives Committee, an entity headed by the Toyota Motor Company — Toyota Battery Manufacturing Inc. — was approved to receive $338 million in Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG), funds that were included in the 2022 state budget.

Committee members were told during the meeting that North Carolina won out over nine states considered for the project, all of them offering significant economic incentives.

Toyota has already electrified approximately 25% of its vehicle production, committee members were told, which is only the beginning of its plans for hybrid and battery-electric vehicles.

That meeting followed approval of economic incentives by the Randolph Board of County Commissioners in the form of property tax reductions over 20 years plus conveyance of property at no cost, and by the Greensboro City Council for water and sewer service installation at no cost.

Toyota will invest at least $1 billion in the plant and create 1,750 new jobs. A plan for a Phase II expansion, if the company so chooses, would bring the total investment to more than $3 billion and bring a total of 3,875 jobs.

"This project will anchor the entire 17-county Carolina Core region," Loren Hill, the regional economic development director for the Piedmont Triad Partnership, told the Randolph County board.

A formal announcement of the project will be held at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite this afternoon at 2 p.m. Stay tuned to Triad Business Journal for further details later today.

Source: Triad Business Journal