Toyota Motor said on Wednesday that it was more than doubling its investment in a battery plant in North Carolina as part of a broader effort to catch up to rivals in fielding electric vehicles.
The automaker said it would invest an additional $2.5 billion in the plant, which is to be located near Greensboro, an expansion that would create an additional 350 jobs. It now expects to spend a total of $3.8 billion on the factory and to employ 2,100 people.
“This plant will serve a central role in Toyota’s leadership toward a fully electrified future and will help us meet our goal of carbon neutrality in our vehicles and global operations by 2035,” Norm Bafunno, a senior vice president of Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement.
The announcement came two days after Honda Motor announced that it would build a battery plant in the United States with a Korean partner, LG Energy Solution, and follows news that California authorities aim to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in the state starting in 2035. The companies said the investment would total $4.4 billion.
Toyota pioneered hybrid vehicles that use an electric motor and a gasoline engine to reduce fuel consumption, but has been slower than many automakers in committing to a full transition to electric cars and trucks.
General Motors has just started production at a battery plant in Ohio, and has two others under construction. Ford Motor is building two battery plants in Kentucky and one in Tennessee, and Stellantis is locating one in Indiana.
The recently approved Inflation Reduction Act has increased the incentive for such plants by tying subsidies for E.V. purchases to the amount of a vehicle’s battery that is built in North America.
Toyota announced the plan to build the North Carolina battery plant in December, saying it would invest $1.29 billion and employ 1,750 people.
In its statement on Wednesday, Toyota said it was spending $70 billion globally on its electrification strategy, including $5.6 billion on battery production.