Toyota announced today that it will invest $1.3 billion in the development of future electric vehicles at its flagship Kentucky facility.
The Japanese automaker said it would bring an all-new, three-row battery electric SUV to the U.S. market thanks to the investment. Toyota has now committed nearly $10 billion in investments to the Kentucky plant, aiming to build high-quality vehicles and offer job stability to its employees at the factory.
The investment is also set to support the addition of a battery pack assembly line to the Kentucky plant. The batteries used in the packs assembled in Kentucky will come from Toyota’s Battery Manufacturing Plant in North Carolina.
Toyota has been a company that has lagged in EV development and has even questioned the need for an aggressive EV offensive. Executives have said they believe EVs are not the path to carbon neutrality.
Toyota Australia’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, said:
“I’m excited because it sends a clear message that you know what? Toyota’s not anti-EV. We’re actually not. And we want to play in that market. We want to be part of it. We’re excited by it. We just don’t see it as the golden bullet or the single golden bullet towards carbon neutrality…We know it plays a role.
We have a social and community responsibility to do that. And that’s why we talk about Fuel Emission Standards and multi pathway. Some interpret it as Toyota being anti-BEV. No, we’re not. We are just being real. We’re being honest with the market and the position.”
However, this narrative has not stopped the company from making some drastic investments into EV development in various regions.
Kentucky has been looked at by Toyota as a place where it can work toward a more committed EV development program. President of Toyota Kentucky Kerry Creech said:
“Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to vehicle electrification and further reinvesting in our U.S. operations. Generations of our team members helped prepare for this opportunity, and we will continue leading the charge into the future by remaining true to who we are as a company and putting our people first for generations to come.”
Toyota has announced roughly $17 billion in investments to advance battery electric vehicle development in the United States.
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