Missouri could be in the running for Toyota battery plant

Kurt Erickson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri could be in the running for a new $1.29 billion factory being planned by Toyota to produce batteries for gas-electric hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

The plant would be part of $3.4 billion that the automaker plans to spend in the U.S. on batteries during the next decade. The company didn't detail where the remaining $2.1 billion would be spent, but part of that likely will go for another battery factory.

The new plant likely would be near one of the company's U.S. assembly or parts plants in Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama or Texas. Toyota currently builds cylinder heads at its parts plant in Troy, located about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis.

Maggie Kost, acting director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said the administration doesn't provide comment on active projects it has underway.

"We're in regular contact with Toyota on a number of fronts given their presence in Missouri. This would certainly be a tremendous opportunity for our state," Kost said.

The 550,000-square-foot facility in Troy, which began production in 1993, employs 1,000 workers.

A study based on 2015 data by the Center for Automotive Research found when direct employees are combined with jobs at company suppliers, as well as spinoff jobs, Toyota is estimated to support 10,000 jobs in Missouri.

Missouri also is home to a General Motors truck plant in Wentzville, a Ford truck factory in Claycomo and numerous suppliers.

Toyota's new battery plant eventually would employ 1,750 people and start making batteries in 2025, gradually expanding through 2031.

"Today's commitment to electrification is about achieving long-term sustainability for the environment, American jobs and consumers," Ted Ogawa, Toyota's North American CEO, said in a statement.

Toyota plans to sell 2 million zero emission hydrogen and battery electric vehicles worldwide per year by 2030. In the U.S., Toyota plans to sell 1.5 million to 1.8 million vehicles by 2030 in the U.S. that are at least partially electrified.

Toyota joins Ford and General Motors in announcing recent large investments in U.S. battery factories. GM plans to build battery plants in Ohio and Tennessee, while Ford has plans for plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report