LIBERTY, N.C. — It's official. Toyota is building a $1.2 billion lithium battery plant for a new generation of vehicles in North Carolina. It's the carmaker's first battery plant in North America. Here are 10 things to know about the site that's expected to bring a big-money boost to the Triad.
1. The plant will be officially known as Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina.
2. It's going to be built on a 1,800-acre piece of land known as the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, located right on the Guilford-Randolph county line.
3. Production will start in 2025. The plant will make lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 electric cars with plans to eventually make more than 1.2 million battery packs per year.
4. The new battery-making plant will bring 1,750 job openings with it. The average annual salaries of the jobs will be a little more than $62,000, according to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper's office. Randolph County's average annual wage is currently just below $38,000.
5. Toyota lists seven reasons why it chose North Carolina for its first battery plant: an extensive highway system, four international airports and two seaports, onsite rail, a diverse workforce, renewable energy availability, world-renowned education system, and strong government partnership at both the state and local levels.
6. Economists say you can expect a ripple effect from the jobs created by the Toyota battery plant. A formula from the Economic Policy Institute reveals for every 100 durable manufacturing positions created, there are also 744.1 other indirect jobs created. So, those 1,750 megasite jobs could really turn into 14,000 new jobs.
7. Liberty is the closest Randolph County town to the megasite. Pleasant Garden is the closest Guilford County town to the megasite. The Triad has been a hotbed for the housing market, and a realtor told us that Toyota coming here means demand will go up even higher.
8. This isn't the first time Toyota has eyed the Greensboro-Randolph megasite. Back in 2018, Randolph County lost a bid for a car manufacturing plant to Alabama. North Carolina state and local leaders didn't give up on selling our state to a big automaker. "You never know if the client who walks away today may be the one that comes back next year or a few years down the road," Kevin Franklin, President of the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, said.
9. We'll start to see more apprenticeship programs pop up around the Greensboro area to eventually help fill these jobs. The process works like this: Toyota tells workforce institutions what skills will be needed for its jobs and those institutions develop plans and curriculum to meet the need, and a skilled workforce is trained.
10. Toyota has a goal to reach carbon neutrality for its vehicles and operations by 2050 and says it is committed to using 100% renewable energy to continue making its batteries right here in the Triad.