Toyota Motor‘s latest battery announcement boosts planned investment in a new US battery plant from US$1.29 billion to $3.8 billion, partly in response to rising consumer demand for electric vehicles, the company told Reuters on Wednesday.
Panasonic would be a partner in the Liberty, North Carolina, plant through its Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES) joint venture with Toyota, Norm Bafunno, senior vice president of powertrain manufacturing and engineering at Toyota Motor North America, told the news agency.
The Liberty plant is slated to open in 2025 and PPES will provide expertise in battery making technology and equipment, Bafunno told Reuters.
Panasonic also has a battery making joint venture with Tesla in Nevada and recently announced plans to build a $4 billion plant in Kansas that is expected to supply Tesla and other automakers.
When Toyota announced the initial $1.29 billion investment last autumn, North Carolina said the state would boost reimbursement to Toyota by $315 million if the company’s investment topped $3 billion, Reuters noted.
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Initially, Bafunno said, the plant would 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 technology, including solid state electrolytes, could be introduced over time.
“This technology is going to evolve quickly,” Bafunno told Reuters.
The report noted the higher investment figure for Liberty followed the recent passage of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which provides incentives for manufacturers and tax credits to consumers aimed at boosting local content in EVs and batteries.