Toyota on Wednesday confirmed that it will assemble a three-row battery electric SUV at its Georgetown, Kentucky, plant starting in 2025.
The new SUV will use batteries supplied from Toyota’s North Carolina plant, and it says that facility will be “Toyota’s hub for developing and producing lithium-ion batteries needed for its expanding portfolio of electrified vehicles.”
Although little has been said about the three-row model, Toyota recently laid out that it will be part of a new-generation EV set to be built on three different platforms: software, electronic, and body and chassis. Concurrently, Toyota has rethought the production process.
Toyota notes that the Kentucky and North Carolina plants are the company’s largest and newest plants, respectively. The North Carolina plant, which will start in 2025, will have six battery lines in all, four of which will be for hybrids and two set for fully electric vehicles.
That follows Toyota’s announcement earlier this month that it plans to launch ten EVs, ranging from luxury vehicles to compact cars and commercial vehicles, “mainly in the United States and China,” as part of an additional rollout by 2026.
As of a 2021 update, Toyota anticipated that 85% of its U.S. vehicles sold in 2030 would have tailpipes—meaning full battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles would make up 15% of sales then.
Toyota has argued that it can make a bigger difference in overall emissions by emphasizing hybrids rather than betting all its batteries on EVs.
“The decision to assemble a BEV in the U.S. demonstrates the company’s belief in electric vehicles and its commitment to design, engineer and produce vehicles for the market,” said Toyota.
It also will likely permit the new vehicle to be eligible for the revamped EV tax credit, called the Clean Vehicle Credit—a factor that may help the future EV be more competitive in the market.
Toyota says that the total investment in North Carolina now adds up to $5.9 billion, with an added investment in the facility of $2.1 billion, for “new infrastructure to support future expansion.”
Toyota says that globally it’s put on the road more than 23 million “electrified” vehicles—hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel-cell EVs, and battery electric models combined. By 2025 it will have an electrified option for every Toyota and Lexus model offered globally.
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