Toyota appears to be readying an electric counterpart to the Kluger, confirming it will assemble a new three-row electric SUV at the company’s Kentucky plant from 2025.
This marks the first time the Japanese carmaker will produce an electric vehicle (EV) in the US, and with the new model’s batteries also set to be produced there, the new SUV should therefore be eligible for a US$7500 (~A$11,500) tax credit in that market.
Toyota has said the batteries for this three-row electric SUV will be produced at a new battery production plant in North Carolina that’s currently under construction.
The Japanese carmaker is currently investing US$2.1 billion (~$A3.2 billion) in this North Carolina battery production plant, which is part of a wider US$5.9 billion (~A$9 billion) investment in Toyota North Carolina.
The North Carolina battery production plant will act as a hub for Toyota’s “expanding portfolio of electrified vehicles”. By 2025 there will be a total of six battery production lines – four for hybrid vehicles and two for EVs.
At this stage it’s unclear what the upcoming Toyota three-row electric SUV will look like, but the company did reveal the “bZ Large SUV” concept as part of the 16 diverse all-electric concept cars it showed off in late 2021.
It’s also unclear if the Toyota three-row electric SUV will be for the North American market only, or if it will also be produced in right-hand drive for export markets like Australia.
This announcement of a three-row Toyota electric SUV follows just days after Ford announced it will launch a three-row electric SUV in the US in 2025.
As previously reported, Toyota will launch 10 EVs by 2026, by which time it aims to be selling 1.5 million pure-electric vehicles globally.
The company hasn’t announced plans to transition its eponymous brand to an all-electric line-up, though Lexus will go EV-only by 2035 and aims to be selling millions EVs annually by 2030.