Toyota continues rapid pace of BEV development with battery investments in US and Japan

When Toyota announced plans in April 2021 to introduce a full lineup of 70 electrified vehicles, with 15 BEVs, including 7 new bZ BEV models already available by 2025, it also launched a series of peripheral manufacturing actions and of R&D. . Just over a year later, it finalized its plans to create its own battery for its vehicles and to supply other automakers as well.

“Through this integrated vehicle and battery development, we aim to reduce the battery cost per vehicle by 50% compared to the Toyota bZ4X in the second half of the 2020s,” said Toyota’s chief technology officer. , Masahiko Maeda, to automotive journalists during a press briefing on the subject. the company’s long-term battery strategy.

In the United States, some $2.5 billion (~325 billion yen) will be newly invested in a new company, Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC), 90% of which will be owned by Toyota Motor North America, Inc. and the remaining 10% by Toyota Tsusho Corporation. In Japan, approximately $2.82 billion (~400 billion yen) will be newly invested in the Himeji plant of Prime Planet Energy & Solutions Co., Ltd. (PPES) and at Toyota factories and properties in the country.

The total investment for this battery manufacturing program is approximately $5.6 billion (786.5 billion yen) with plants located in both North Carolina in the United States and two sites in Japan. .

By owning the battery production assets, Toyota will never become dependent on the global flow of battery supply. It also assures the company full control of battery manufacturing processes, including raw material sourcing, battery chemical production and waste disposal, and enables it to stick to monozukuri. (literally, to make things), to the skills of making and to the transmission of this knowledge and processes. to increase both efficiency and sustainability.

“When it comes to electrified vehicles, cars and batteries should be considered as a set of products. Toyota, which has been committed to producing batteries within the Toyota Group since 1997 and whose HEVs introduced into the market count 18.1 million units alone, is an automaker that is working on battery development as a group of companies, and in an uncertain future of electrified vehicles as well, it intends to step forward safe,” Maeda said.

With this investment, Toyota intends to increase its combined battery production capacity in Japan and the United States to up to 40 GWh. By using the Toyota production system and building more efficient production lines than ever before, Toyota also intends to strengthen its competitiveness and invest in the training of personnel engaged in battery production.

An illustration showing the relationship between battery development and the growing demand for electric vehicles. Submitted by Raymond B. Tribdino

Toyota’s battery manufacturing goals are more ambitious. To achieve the planned 50% (or less) reduction in battery prices through the integrated development of vehicles and batteries, it is planned to invest an additional approximately $10.7 billion (1.5 trillion Japanese yen) from here 2030.

To adapt sustainably and concretely to the future, Toyota wishes to contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality by improving its adaptability to change and its competitiveness, as well as by aiming for the fundamental generalization of ever better electrified vehicles.

In December last year, Toyota Chairman Aiko Toyoda, at the presentation of its BEV-only lineup, said the sustainability of electrified vehicles should include hybrids, plug-ins and even battery-electric vehicles. fuel (FCEV).

In addition to battery development and production, this investment aims to create as many types of powertrain options as possible. The 70 different electrified vehicles listed in a timeline through 2025 aim to meet the main goal of Toyota’s electrification journey – to reduce its carbon footprint and that of its customers throughout the vehicle’s life cycle – to achieve the universal sustainable development goals set by the UN.

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