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Toyota increases EV investment in central Kentucky manufacturing plant to $1.3 billion

Toyota's decision to add an EV manufacturing facility to its Scott County plant is likely to have a ripple effect, just as it did when the company moved there more than 30 years ago.
Toyota's decision to add an EV manufacturing facility to its Scott County plant is likely to have a ripple effect, just as it did when the company moved there more than 30 years ago.

Toyota is investing $1.3 billion into its Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky plant in Georgetown.

That’s an increase to a $591 million investment the company originally announced last May.

“It's really a testament to their confidence in our region, in our state, in our community to help make them competitive in the market for years and years to come,” Scott County Judge/Executive Joe Pat Covington said.

That investment will fund the production of battery-powered electric SUVs starting in 2025, and would support 700 permanent jobs.

The newly added money will also help add a battery pack assembly line at the plant, with batteries being supplied from a manufacturing plant in North Carolina. Toyota says no additional jobs are being added as a result of the extra money.

Toyota representative Kim Ogle said in an email to WEKU that the investment will support the company’s plan to offer electric or hybrid versions of each of their vehicles by next year.

“We are aggressively moving forward with bringing battery electric vehicles to production at Toyota Kentucky,” Ogle said. “Bringing BEV assembly to North America is an important step in Toyota’s approach to electrification and commitment to building where we sell.”

Electric vehicles are touted for lower carbon emissions, less maintenance and no fuel refills. The Beshear administration has supported EV infrastructure in the past, including the funding and construction for more charging stations across the state.

“The fact that we’re gonna see EVs being produced at this plant… it shows that we’re not just going to be an automotive leader, but we want to be the automotive leader,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a video announcing the increased investment.

Meanwhile, sales growth for EVs has slowed in recent months. Motor Intelligence data reported a 46 percent growth rate through last November. 2022 saw a more successful year in comparison, with sales growing 74 percent through that October.

Ogle says Toyota is still optimistic about their operations in Georgetown.

“Our lineup of vehicles at TMMK allows us to be flexible and to adjust to market needs,” Ogle said. “We will be able to build traditional combustion engine, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, making TMMK well-positioned to move into the future of vehicle production.”

A new state law that went into effect this year also requires EV drivers to pay an annual ownership fee.

The Georgetown plant is Toyota’s largest in the world and employs around 9,400 workers. It became Toyota’s first plant in the U.S. to manufacture hybrid EVs in 2006.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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