GREENSBORO – The site of Toyota’s planned U.S. battery plant could be in North Carolina, at an 1,825 acre megasite in Randolph County, according to Bloomberg news. And the recently approved North Carolina budget has earmarked more than $300 million for the site.
According to the reports, no final decision has been made.
The site, located in Randolph County, is zoned for heavy industrial use, is located in an opportunity zone, and would have water and sewer provided by the City of Greensboro, according to its website for the Randolph County, NC Economic Development Corporation.
The facility could reportedly be linked to a joint venture between Toyota and fellow Japanese company Panasonic, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, according to the unnamed sources with whom Bloomberg’s reporters spoke.
Toyota previously announced it would invest some $3.4 billion in electric battery production in the United States through 2030, including nearly $1.3 billion in a project that could create 1,750 jobs, in a statement from the company on Oct. 18.
That statement reads: “Toyota Motor North America also announced today that it will establish a new company and build an automotive battery plant together with Toyota Tsusho in the U.S. Aiming to start production in 2025, the project includes an investment of approximately $1.29 billion until 2031, which includes funds that will be used to develop land and build facilities, resulting in the creation of 1,750 new American jobs.”
Could that site be in North Carolina?
The North Carolina recently approved budget allocates $135 million in aid to an unspecified manufacturer that has an interest in the megasite should it commit to what Bloomberg reported as “invest at least one billion dollars in private funds and create at least 1,750 eligible positions.”
Bloomberg’s reporting also noted that the appropriations bill could provide an additional $185 million in funding if the unnamed manufacturer boosts its investment to at least $3 billion and increases the job creation commitment to at least 3,875 eligible positions.
The Triad Business Journal also reported on the state budget’s approval of the economic incentive package last week, noting that the budget bill includes $338 million for the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
Toyota’s October statement states that the company’s planned investments include developing and expanding its local supply chain as it pertains to Lithium-ion automotive batteries, noting that “the venture will first focus on producing batteries for hybrid electric vehicles.”
The company plans to introduce two fully electric vehicles in the United States in 2022.
The site was previously considered by Toyota for a different project, according to reporting from the Triad Business Journal in 2018. The company ultimately selected a site in Alabama to house a Toyota-Mazda manufacturing plan.
Kevin Franklin, president of the Randolph County, NC Economic Development Corporation, could not be reached on Monday for comment on the site and its potential development. Chris Chung, the CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, declined to comment.