Toyota Motor said it would invest JPY730 billion (US$5.6 billion) in Japan and the United States toward supplying automotive batteries for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), for which demand is growing, and aims to begin battery production between 2024 and 2026.

“This investment is aimed at enabling Toyota to flexibly meet the needs of its various customers in all countries and regions by offering multiple powertrains and providing as many options as possible,” the automaker said in a statement.

Toyota intends to increase its combined battery production capacity in Japan and the US by up to 40 GWh. By using the Toyota Production System and building production lines that are more efficient than ever, the automaker also intends to further strengthen its competitiveness and invest in the training of personnel engaged in battery production and the passing down of monozukuri manufacturing skills.

In Japan, JPY400 billion will be newly invested in the Himeji Plant of Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES) [a JV with Panasonic] and in Toyota plants and property while, in the US, JPY325 billion ($2.5 billion) will be newly invested in Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC owned 90% by Toyota Motor North America and 10% by Toyota Tsusho Corporation) toward increasing automotive battery production.

“Toyota intends to continue its efforts to build a supply system that can steadily meet the growing demand for BEVs in various regions, including the supply of automotive batteries from its partners,” the automaker said in a statement.

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The automaker, often criticised for an apparently slow move to full EVs, added: “Toyota believes that there is more than one option for achieving carbon neutrality. It also believes that the means of reducing CO2 emissions as much as possible and as quickly as possible while protecting the livelihoods of its customers vary greatly depending on the country and region. With such in mind, Toyota will continue to make every effort to flexibly meet the needs of its various customers in all countries and regions by offering multiple powertrains and providing as many options as possible.”