Toyota has had a puzzling few months. In July, it attempted to lobby members of the US Congress to slow the shift to electric vehicles (EVs). Now, the Japanese giant will reportedly spend billions of dollars in developing battery technology.
The investment involves a brand new $1.29 billion factory in the US for producing hybrid and fully electric car batteries. The factory could stand in Texas and will purportedly generate more than 1,700 jobs in the area. In total, Toyota aims to invest $3.4 billion in automotive batteries in the US through 2030.
Apart from the US, Toyota has plans to invest $13.5 billion worldwide to keep competitive in the burgeoning EV market. As the world's largest automaker, Toyota once led the industry in EV development but has now been left behind by some of its more aggressive rivals.
Despite this status, the company has somewhat maintained its lead in hybrid technology. It currently sells gasoline-electric models like the Prius, which it has produced since 1997.
Newer models like the Corolla Cross and RAV4 Hybrid are making their mark globally, but the company still has no fully electric model in the market. That could change in 2022, as Toyota plans to introduce the production version of the bZ4X all-electric crossover concept.
Time could be running out for Toyota. Its rivals have been much readier to discard the internal combustion engine. General Motors has pledged $35 billion to bring 30 new EV models to the market by 2025. Ford will also spend $29 billion on electrifying its vehicles through 2025. Over in Asia, Honda plans to stop selling pure gasoline-powered cars by 2040.
While Toyota's latest investment in the US could be the start of something worth watching, it would need to do significantly more to catch up with the competition. Things are heating up, and we can't wait to see what Toyota has in store for an electrified future.