Toyota to build USD1.3B battery plant near Greensboro, NC

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA (AP) – Toyota announced on Monday that it plans to build a USD1.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant near Greensboro, North Carolina, that will employ at least 1,750 people and help meet the auto giant’s growing goals of electric vehicle sales this decade.

Company leaders join Governor Roy Cooper and other elected and economic-development officials gathered to unveil the project on hundreds of acres at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite in Liberty, about 113 kilometres west of Raleigh.

Initially, Toyota will or could receive well over USD430 million in cash incentives, tax breaks and infrastructure upgrades from the state of North Carolina and local governments if it meets job creation and investment goals, according to officials and documents.

The Japanese automaker said the plant would start making batteries in 2025.

The announcement marks a massive accomplishment for the Greensboro-area economy, which is still looking for replacement jobs after the region’s generations-old textile industry shriveled in the 1990s and 2000s.

Local leaders had been working for several years to land such a big company at the site.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announces that the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite will be used as a new Toyota battery manufacturing plant. PHOTO: AP

North Carolina lost out to Alabama for a joint Toyota-Mazda automobile manufacturing plant about four years ago.

“Good things come to those who wait,” Cooper said during the announcement at the proposed site, saying the production will help North Carolina meet its goal as a clean-energy leader. “We hope in the future everything that goes around the battery will be part of this as well.”

The plant is part of USD3.4 billion that Toyota plans to spend in the US on automotive batteries during the next decade. It didn’t detail where the remaining USD2.1 billion would be spent, but part of that likely will go for another battery factory.

Toyota will form a new company to run the new plant with Toyota Tsusho, a subsidiary that now makes an array of parts for the automaker. The company also will help Toyota expand its US supply chain, as well as increase its knowledge of lithium-ion auto batteries, Toyota said.

The site near Greensboro is relatively close to many of Toyota’s existing US auto assembly plants in Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama and Texas. The company has yet to announce where it will build fully electric vehicles for sale in the US.

“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,” Toyota Motor North America CEO Ted Ogawa said in a news release.