Toyota Triples Planned Investment to $3.8 Billion in US Battery Plant

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Aug 31 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) is increasing its planned investment in a new US battery plant from $1.29 billion to $3.8 billion, in part in response to rising consumer demand for electric vehicles, it said the company on Wednesday.

Battery maker Panasonic (6752.T) becomes a partner at the Liberty, North Carolina, plant through its Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES) joint venture with Toyota, according to Norm Bafunno, senior vice president of powertrain production and engineering at Toyota Motor North. America.

The Liberty factory is expected to open in 2025. PPES will provide expertise in battery-making technology and equipment, Bafunno said in an interview.

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Panasonic also has a battery-making joint venture with Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) in Nevada and recently announced plans to build a $4 billion plant in Kansas that is expected to supply Tesla and other automakers.

Toyota Motor Corporation cars are seen at a briefing on the company’s battery electric vehicle strategies in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 14, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

When Toyota announced its initial investment of $1.29 billion last fall, North Carolina said the state would increase its repayment to Toyota by $315 million if the company’s investment exceeds $3 billion. read more

Toyota now plans to add two production lines for making batteries for all-electric vehicles at its Liberty plant, in addition to the four lines originally planned to make smaller batteries for hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Bafunno said. He refused to deliver the plant’s planned production capacity.

Initially, Bafunno added, the plant will make lithium-ion batteries using relatively conventional electrode technology — a mixture of nickel, cobalt and manganese for the cathode and graphite for the anode. But newer technologies, including solid-state electrolytes, could be introduced over time.

“This technology will evolve quickly,” Bafunno said.

The higher investment figure for the Liberty plant follows the recent passing of the US Inflation Reduction Act, which provides incentives for manufacturers and tax credits for consumers aimed at boosting local content in EVs and batteries. read more

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Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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