The future begins now.
Toyota has taken its time regarding electrification. CEO Akio Toyoda has made his opinion about the technology loud and clear. Hint: he's not a fan of EVs. This doesn't mean the Japanese automaker is completely ignoring battery-electric vehicles. The upcoming Toyota bZ4X is proof. It's also investing heavily in plug-in hybrids, believing it's best in the long-term not to put all of its eggs in one technological basket.
Earlier this week, the carmaker announced plans to build a new $1.29 billion battery factory in the US where it already has a major facility. The new production line will build batteries for gas-electric hybrid models and pure electrics. The exact location of the factory wasn't announced but it will employ at least 1,750 people when it gets up and running in 2025. Production will continue to expand through 2031.
This pant is part of a larger overall investment in America. Over the next decade, Toyota will invest $3.4 billion on vehicle batteries. There's a difference of $2.1 billion that will presumably be invested in battery tech as well, possibly an additional factory. Toyota further points out its hybrid-electric engine expansion is already underway, specifically for the all-new 2022 Tundra.
The full-size pickup truck will come powered by a new twin-turbo V6 that's available with a hybrid system for a total output of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Sans the hybrid tech, output is 389 hp and 479 lb-ft. This engine is currently in production at the Huntsville, Alabama plant.
The assembly line will produce a new engine every 58 seconds with a total monthly build capacity of 18,000 units. That's 900,000 engines per year.
"Toyota's commitment to electrification is about achieving long-term sustainability for the environment, American jobs and consumers," said Toyota North America CEO Ted Ogawa. "This investment will help usher in more affordable electrified vehicles for US consumers, significantly reduce carbon emissions, and importantly, create even more American jobs tied to the future of mobility."
Toyota may not be a major direct threat to Tesla, but it has no intention of falling behind other OEM rivals in this new electrification era.