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Toyota bets $1.3 billion on new electric SUV made in America

By Jake Beardslee · February 6, 2024

In brief…

  • Toyota investing $1.3 billion in Kentucky plant to produce new all-electric SUV for U.S. market
  • SUV expected to launch late 2025/early 2026 as part of Toyota's $35B EV investment through 2030
  • Comes as consumer EV adoption has been slower than expected
  • Toyota still sees role for hybrids/plug-ins, but making big bet on future EV growth
  • Investment signals confidence in U.S. demand for affordable, capable electric SUVs
Toyota is making a $1.3 billion bet on the future of electric vehicles in America with a new Kentucky plant set to build an all-electric SUV aimed at U.S. consumers starting in late 2025/early 2026.  Dinkun Chen/Wikimedia

Toyota is betting big on electric vehicles with a $1.3 billion investment in its Kentucky plant to produce a new all-electric SUV aimed at the U.S. market, according to CNBC. The Japanese automaker announced on Tuesday that the new three-row SUV will go into production between late 2025 and early 2026 as part of Toyota’s previously announced plans to invest $35 billion in battery-electric vehicles through 2030.

While Toyota declined to provide details on the upcoming EV SUV, it is expected to compete with current electric SUVs like Rivian’s R1S and Kia’s EV9 in the growing market segment. The Kentucky plant investment signals Toyota’s confidence in strong U.S. demand for electric vehicles going forward.

However, the announcement also comes at a time when EV adoption by consumers has been slower than anticipated, leading some automakers to delay or cut back EV investments. As the world’s largest automaker, Toyota has been one of the more skeptical legacy companies regarding full electrification, arguing that hybrids, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells will also play a role in reaching carbon neutrality.

But with its Kentucky EV SUV investment, Toyota is making a big bet on the future growth of the all-electric segment in the U.S. market. The company’s long-term $35 billion EV investment plan reflects a view that demand will eventually take off as more affordable and capable electric models hit the market. For now, Toyota appears committed to hedging its bets across a range of alternative fuel vehicle technologies.