Toyota is Injecting $1.3 billion to its Kentucky plant for “future electrification efforts,” including production of a currently unnamed three-row electric SUV for the U.S. market. This news comes as a bit of a surprise, as the world's largest automaker is also one of the most hostile to the industry-wide shift to electric vehicles.
Toyota says the money will fund an electric vehicle assembly line at its Kentucky plant, as well as battery assembly using electric vehicle batteries supplied by its North Carolina facility. The company said it will invest a total of $17 billion in its US operations to support the transition to electric vehicles.
Of course, this may come as cold comfort to environmentalists, who were Fight the automaker For years due to anti-electric car pressure in countries around the world.
Toyota was a pioneer in electric vehicles with its hugely popular Prius, which helped pave the way for companies like Tesla and others by proving that vehicles with alternative engines could be big sellers. But the company has since fallen behind its competitors. It sells only two battery electric vehicles in the United States: the Toyota bz4X and the Lexus RZ 450e.
The recent debate about the demand for electric vehicles in the US – is it on the rise? drop? flattening? – It gave Toyota a chance to gloat about its strategy of prioritizing hybrids over battery electric cars. “People are finally seeing reality,” Toyota Chairman and former CEO Akio Toyoda told reporters at the Japan Mobility Expo recently. The Wall Street Journal. “There are many ways to climb the carbon neutral mountain.”
The three-row SUV could be based on the electric Land Cruiser concept that Toyota showed at the 2023 Japan Mobility Expo. The seven-seat concept had an angular appearance with a long hood, a flip-up windshield and a rounded rear end with a visor taillight design. It also has a wider stance and shorter ride height than the gas-powered 2024 Land Cruiser.
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