It’s been a big morning for electric vehicles with three of the motoring world’s biggest superpowers, Toyota, Ford, and Stellantis, all announcing more electrification investment plans almost in perfect unison.
First, Toyota. The Japanese marque has announced that it’s investing US$3.4billion into battery research and development in the United States. The news is just as much a hybrid announcement as an EV one, but nevertheless it’s an indication that Toyota is easing closer to embracing full electrification.
The sum will come out of the brand’s recent US$14billion investment news. In this case, the 3.4b will be spent over a nine-year period on localising battery production. A US$1.29billion lithium ion battery plant will start producing batteries for Toyota by 2025. Toyota says that the news will create roughly 1,750 new jobs.
The blue oval, meanwhile, has announced that it’s chucking £230million at its Halewood plans in Merseyside, UK. This will revamp the factory and help it pivot to produce more electric vehicle parts for upcoming models. This includes the production of power units from 2024.
In this case, Ford is clearly gearing up for the UK’s upcoming ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2030 onwards. It says that the investment, along with putting Ford in good stead for the petrol ban, will also preserve local jobs.
Finally, there’s Stellantis, the parent brand of the likes of Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Opel, Peugeot, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and more. It’s confirmed that, together with LG, it will be building a new ‘Gigafactory’ (Tesla should really be charging royalties for that term…) in North America dedicated to producing batteries.
It’s interesting timing given that LG is currently embroiled in a huge recall with Stellantis’ rival General Motors and the Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt’s LG-sourced batteries have a known fault that can cause fires. GM has recalled every Bolt it’s ever produced, and recommended that owners don’t charge their cars overnight, don’t charge their cars indoors, and don’t park their cars near others.
Nevertheless, Stellantis and LG are marching on with these new plans. They expect to be producing 40 gigawatt hours annually, with battery production scheduled to commence in Q1 of 2024. Stellantis says these batteries will feature in both plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. Dodge’s ‘first electric muscle car’ and the electric Ram 1500 are both scheduled for launch in 2024.
“Today’s announcement is further proof that we are deploying our aggressive electrification road map and are following through on the commitments we made during our EV Day event in July,” says Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.