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Toyota to build $1.3 billion battery plant near Greensboro, N.C., creating nearly 2,000 jobs

Salaries for the new jobs at the battery plant will vary by position, but taken together will average $62,234, increasing the regional payroll by more than $100 million every year.
FILE - The company logo adorns a sign outside a Toyota dealership Sunday, March 21, 2021, in...
FILE - The company logo adorns a sign outside a Toyota dealership Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Lakewood, Colo. North Carolina officials have scheduled a Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, news conference to announce a major economic development project, which likely will be construction of a Toyota electric vehicle battery factory with 1,750 workers. Officials from the state and an unidentified company will attend.(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 12:08 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 3:59 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - Toyota plans to build a $1.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant near Greensboro, North Carolina, that will employ at least 1,750 people, government officials said Monday.

Toyota was identified during a morning meeting of the state Economic Investment Committee, which voted to award at least $79 million in incentives to Toyota if the project is completed.

This will be Toyota’s first North American battery manufacturing plant for a new generation of vehicles.

In North Carolina, the plant will create at least 1,750 jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday.

Salaries for the new jobs at the battery plant will vary by position, but taken together will average $62,234, increasing the regional payroll by more than $100 million every year.

Randolph County’s overall average annual wage is currently $37,865.

Toyota will invest $1.29 billion at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, strengthening North Carolina’s position as a leader in the nation’s growing, clean energy economy.

“It’s tremendous that Toyota has selected North Carolina for such an important part of its electric vehicle future, creating good paying jobs and moving us toward a healthier environment,” Governor Cooper said. “It’s clear the world is beginning to embrace a clean energy future and today’s decision puts North Carolina front and center.”

Toyota Motor North America, Inc. is the headquarters for all Toyota’s operations in North America, including research and development, vehicle design, manufacturing, sales, and marketing.

The company sells and distributes a wide variety of Toyota and Lexus branded vehicles, including a growing line of electrified vehicles of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cells and battery electric vehicles.

Currently, electrified vehicles account for nearly 25 percent of its sales volume, and the company estimates that number will increase to 70 percent by 2030.

The new plant in Randolph County will initially produce batteries for Toyota’s hybrid electric vehicles, and intends to produce batteries for battery electric vehicles long term.

Toyota’s project in North Carolina will be led by a new venture between Toyota and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the trading arm of the Toyota Group.

The new venture company will be known as Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC), based in Randolph County at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce coordinated the state’s recruitment of Toyota’s new battery plant, which involved an extensive network of state, regional, and local organizations.

“Toyota’s commitment to establish its North America clean energy efforts in North Carolina shows that preparation pays off enormously,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The hard work of preparing any site for business development involves not just moving dirt and laying infrastructure but investing in education, workforce development, and the collaborative networks that pull resources together. I’m proud of the people and organizations that have worked closely together over many years to make today’s announcement possible.”

The project will be facilitated, in part, by a Transitional Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee, the first JDIG of this classification ever awarded.

The North Carolina General Assembly introduced the Transitional project classification to the JDIG program in November of this year, joining the state’s existing special classes of High-Yield and Transformative economic development projects.

According to the governor’s office, Toyota’s project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by at least $9.5 billion over 20 years, the time period when the grant’s first phase could be active.

Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 1,750 new jobs required in the grant’s first phase, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $79.1 million. This potential payment would be spread over 20 years.

Should Toyota increase the number of jobs and capital investment committed to the project to 3,875 jobs and $3 billion of investment within 36 months of the award, the company will trigger phase 2 of the Transitional JDIG and could then receive up to an estimated $315 million over the life of the grant, which could expand to run for as many as 39 years.

The state’s economy would grow by a total of nearly $35 billion, due to the increased scale of the project.

The potential phase 2 payment to the company is only an estimate at this point, since the ultimate amount will be calculated based both on when the increased investment and job creation targets are met, as well as the final reported number and type of jobs that are ultimately created for the project.

Any state payments only occur following performance verification each year by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.

Toyota’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $7.5 million into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account under the first phase of the grant.

The Utility Account helps rural communities anywhere in the state finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Additional funding for the Utility Account would occur if the grant enters its second phase.

The state-approved additional support to help with final site preparations at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite in the recently passed state budget (North Carolina Senate Bill 105).

For the project’s first phase, $135 million has been appropriated to the Department of Commerce, which will be used by the North Carolina Department of Transportation for road, highway interchange, and other site improvements in Randolph County and at the megasite.

Should the company exercise its option to trigger phase 2 of the Transitional JDIG, then an additional $185 million in site development funds would become available.

In October, Toyota announced that it planned to build the U.S. factory to make batteries for hybrid and fully electric vehicles. The plant would start making batteries in 2025, gradually expanding through 2031.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WBTV contributed to this story.