Electric vehicles are the future, but Toyota still thinks there's room for four-cylinder combustion engines because the automaker is investing $383 million into their production in the United States. The money is split across four sites in the country. According to the company's announcement, this powerplant is "the heart of new Toyota and Lexus vehicles."
The largest portion of the investment is $222 million for Toyota's plant in Huntsville, Alabama. The company will build a new four-cylinder production line there, and these engines will be for both ICE-only and hybrid vehicles. The factory will also expand by 114,000 square feet.
Gallery: Toyota Engine Factory
The plant in Troy, Missouri, will get $109 million to add equipment for building four-cylinder engine heads.
The site in Jackson, Tennessee, will receive a $36 million investment to build four-cylinder engine blocks.
Finally, the factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, will get $16 million to expand the flexibility of its four-cylinder engine production line. The site can already build up to 600,000 powerplants a year.
In October 2021, Toyota announced a $3.4 billion investment into the US to build batteries in the country. This included the construction of a dedicated battery plant employing 1,750 people. The company didn't specify the location where it planned to build this factory. Production of batteries at this site should begin in 2025.
Toyota plans to build a hybrid vehicle with a solid-state battery sometime before 2025. The company believes introducing this next-gen tech in an EV would result in a product that would be too expensive. It can combine a smaller pack with a combustion engine to offer a more affordable product.
Toyota is currently preparing to launch a family of EVs under the bZ moniker. The first of them to arrive is the bZ4X, and it goes on sale in the US later in the spring. The electric crossover starts at $43,215 with destination but before federal or state incentives. The range-topping trim is $49,995.
The front-wheel-drive version of the bZ4X has a single electric motor making 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts) and an EPA-estimated range of 252 miles (406 kilometers). The all-wheel-drive setup offers 214 hp (160 kW), but the range estimate falls to 228 miles (367 kilometers).