Toyota adds $2.1 billion to expand NC battery plant, total now almost $6 billion

Tribune Content Agency

Construction is underway at Toyota’s battery plant south of Greensboro, North Carolina, and this week the carmaker announced it’s investing another heavy sum into the future facility.

The company will direct an additional $2.1 billion to support future expansion at the facility, Toyota said in a press statement Wednesday. In 2025, the plant is expected to begin manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, with four production lines for hybrid car batteries and another two for fully electric vehicle batteries.

Toyota’s total commitment to the site is now at $5.9 billion. Company spokesperson Emily Holland told The News & Observer the latest funding increase will not increase the site’s projected employment target of 2,100 jobs.

In December 2021, the Japanese automaker unveiled its plans to build a battery plant on an 1,800-acre megasite in the small Randolph County, North Carolina, town of Liberty, about 20 miles south of Greensboro. Between state and local incentives, Toyota is poised to receive around $439 million in payroll tax breaks if it meets its minimum investment and job creation targets by 2029.

Over the summer, North Carolina passed a regulatory bill that reserved another $225 million in public dollars for the Liberty plant’s development, contingent on Toyota creating at least 4,500 jobs and investing $4.7 billion in the state by 2035.

Toyota envisions the Liberty plant as a hub for producing the lithium-ion batteries needed to operate its expanding lineup of hybrids and electric vehicles. The company is “just starting to ramp up hiring efforts,” Holland said, and Toyota is partnering with Guilford Technical Community College and Randolph County Community College to recruit.

“The interest in working at Toyota has exceeded our expectations,” Holland said.

On Wednesday, the state’s top leaders made statements cheering the carmaker’s latest funding pledge.

“Toyota’s significant investment in our state, now nearly $6 billion, is terrific news and more evidence that North Carolina is a leader in the clean energy economy,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

“Toyota’s continued commitment in North Carolina confirms our status as a manufacturing powerhouse,” said North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger.

The Randolph County battery plant ranks alongside other massive economic projects North Carolina has attracted in recent years, including Apple, VinFast, Boom Supersonic and Wolfspeed. At nearly $6 billion, it is the largest economic project to receive public support in state history, topping the $5 billion pledge Wolfspeed made in September to build a new semiconductor chip facility in Chatham County.