To be able to produce these motors, Toshiba will have to build its first overseas manufacturing for propulsion motors outside Japan. The new facility will be erected, starting 2011, in Houston, Texas, on the grounds of the Toshiba International Corporation. Production of the drive motors is expected to begin in 2012.
"Toshiba recognizes the importance of localizing production within North America to ensure long term growth and make a commitment to the North American market," Shinichiro Akiba, Toshiba International Corporation president said in a statement.
In early 2009, Toshiba announced the signing of a letter of intent with German carmaker Volkswagen for the joint development of electric drive units and the accompanying electronics. Yesterday's announcement of the expansion to the US represents the first big move in the US for Toshiba's automotive ambitions.
This move wouldn't have been possible without the major drive motors order received from American manufacturer Ford. Of course, having a manufacturing base in the US would allow the Japanese company access to other orders from other local carmakers as well.
"We welcome Toshiba's decision to locate this new production in the United States," Sherif Marakby, Ford Electrification Programs and Engineering director added. "This key technology will help build U.S. capacity and supply of components to further enable vehicle electrification in the North American market."