May 31, 2023
Toyota is adding another $2.1 billion in investment to its vehicle battery plant under construction near Greensboro as the company expands its lineup of all-electric vehicles, including a new three-row SUV model, the company announced Wednesday.
The company said it doesn't yet know the effect on employment. It's roughly the same size of expansion Toyota announced last August and which grew job totals by about 350, but company executives said it's too soon to know exactly how the added capacity will be arrayed to know how many more workers will be needed.
The expansion of the Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina plant under construction near Liberty in northern Randolph County brings total investment there to nearly $6 billion. It’s the second expansion since Toyota first announced its plans in December 2021, but also leaves room for even more growth.
Some of the batteries will go into a new battery-electric SUV model to be assembled at Toyota’s Kentucky assembly and engine plant. It’ll be the world’s largest automaker’s first U.S.-assembled all-battery, three-rows-of-seats sport utility vehicle.
But Sean Suggs, the Toyota executive in charge of the Liberty operation, said the expanded plans aren't just for the new all-electric SUV.
"This investment will be used for expanded infrastructure to support our future growth," Suggs said in a conference call with news organizations Wednesday morning.
"With this new infrastructure, it's getting us ready for what what's to come. We believe that this additional announcement will get us ready for not only the buildings but the equipment and tools and everything that we need. But today we're not ready to announce any additional hiring."
Wednesday’s news follows Toyota’s announcement late last August, part of the company’s overall expansion of vehicle electrification worldwide, that it would expand its plans in Liberty by $2.5 million to a total of $3.8 billion, adding 350 jobs to 2,100 in all. Suggs said his unit has hired about 150 so far locally, and expects to be at 700 by year-end, with hires working from a temporary base of nearly 115,000 square feet the company has subleased on Pinecroft Road in Greensboro.
Toyota expects the expansion to require two new buildings of about a million square feet each to make batteries for all-electric vehicles.
The Liberty factory will be Toyota’s hub for developing and producing lithium-ion batteries for its lineup of electric vehicles. Until now, the company has had only one major production all-battery vehicle, the BZ4X, which is made in Asia.
At Liberty, raw materials will be made into batteries, which will then be shipped, by truck and rail, to Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, for assembly into battery packs and put into finished vehicles.
The new SUV is part of Toyota’s expansion of all-electric vehicles. It introduced the first hybrid gasoline-battery vehicle by a major car company to gain widespread acceptance, the Prius, but has fallen behind other companies in all-electric, though Toyota notes it has 22 electrified vehicle models across the Toyota and Lexus brands, more than any automaker.
The company’s top executive team has repeatedly said it is sticking to its mix of hybrids and battery-electric vehicles in part because key battery ingredients, including lithium, will be hard to come by for the foreseeable future, and it can electrify more vehicles by offering hybrids. They also express wariness that an adequate network of charging stations can be built out fast enough to meet consumers’ needs, and that at least for now, all-electric vehicles may still be too expensive for many potential consumers, but hybrids may be more affordable.
Source: Traid Business Journal
May 22, 2023
Energizer Holdings, Inc. has announced that it will grow its production and packaging operations in Asheboro with a commitment to create 178 new jobs and invest $43 million in machinery and equipment.