Panasonic plans $4 billion US electric vehicle battery factory

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Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced Panasonic Energy plans to build a new electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility in the Kansas City area. The $4 billion plan represents the largest economic development in the state’s history. 

The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas City Area Development Council and its partners shared that the company’s plans create a need for up to 4,000 US manufacturing jobs. Panasonic has identified a site in De Soto, Kansas for the project, pending approval by Panasonic’s board of directors. 

Competition for this milestone project was strong and required a coordinated effort from the state, said Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland. The enactment of the bipartisan Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion Act (APEX) earlier this year helped support Panasonic’s decision to choose Kansas. 

“Once Governor Kelly signed APEX into law,” Toland said, “the state gained the necessary economic development tool to pursue megaprojects that could transform the Kansas economy. Panasonic recognized Kansas as not just a contender, but as the ideal partner for this revolutionary project.” 

Image: Panasonic Energy

Kansas currently has an established battery manufacturing sector with seven establishments and about 1,300 jobs. The state ranked second in the nation for employment in the sector in 2021. With the new facility, Kansas is set to be a national industry leader in a sector that is projected to grow precipitously. 

“With the increased electrification of the automotive market, expanding battery production in the US is critical to help meet demand,” said Kazuo Tadanobu, President, CEO of Panasonic Energy. “Given our leading technology and depth of experience, we aim to continue driving growth of the lithium-ion battery industry and accelerating towards a net-zero emissions future.” 

More than 1 billion customers use Panasonic products every day, generating 86 million tons of CO2 emissions based on electricity consumption figures. This amounts to approximately 110 million tons of CO2 emissions across our entire value chain, a number that is equivalent to about 1% of total emissions from global electricity consumption. The company has entered an initiative to become net-zero in its business operations by 2030 and sets further goals for its sustainability by 2050. 

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