The Japanese automaker is accelerating its pace toward EVs. Toyota Motor North America announced plans to invest $50 million to build a new US battery lab on Thursday to support the company’s electric vehicle strategy.
After falling behind early in the race to bring electric vehicles to market, Toyota has made a series of announcements recently to (hopefully) turn things around and accelerate EV production.
Koji Sato, who took over for outspoken EV critic and 66-year-old grandson to the company’s founder, Akio Toyoda, revealed his new vision for the company in April. Sato said, “Now that the time is right, we will accelerate BEV development with a new approach.”
The plans include 10 new fully electric models by 2026, accounting for 1.5 million in EV sales annually.
Last month, Sato confirmed the rumors that Toyota would create its own dedicated EV platform, set to launch in 2026. Toyota claims its new architecture will double the range in future models with more efficient batteries.
The Japanese automaker also established a new “BEV Factory “to accelerate the development of “next-generation BEVs that only a carmaker can produce.”
With plans to ramp up EV production, Toyota is preparing for the future with a new battery factory at its North American R&D headquarters in York, Michigan, not too far from Ford and GMs home base.
Toyota to build new $50 million US battery lab
The new battery lab will evaluate batteries for electric and electrified vehicles (hybrid) in North America.
Toyota says the facility will ensure that Toyota’s batteries meet North American consumer requirements regarding performance, quality, and durability.
Shinichi Yasui, executive vice president of Toyota Motor North America, Research and Development, said the new investment “shows Toyota’s directional shift toward electrification for all.”
He continued to say that by adding the evaluation capabilities, the team is better positioned to serve the needs of its facilities, including Toyota’s battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina and its Kentucky manufacturing plant.
Toyota revealed its first US-assembled EV, a three-row SUV, will be at the Toyota Kentucky facility, its largest manufacturing plant globally. The new electric SUV is expected to launch in 2025.
Aside from the Japanese automaker’s first global EV, the bZ4X, Toyota has released several concepts, including a sport crossover and family SUV, in addition to an electric sedan, the bZ3, unveiled in China.