Topeka, K.S. – July 13, 2022 – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly today announced that Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., plans to build a state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) battery facility in the Kansas City Region.
The largest economic development project in state history, the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) and its partners shared that the company’s plans could create up to 4,000 new jobs and result in an investment of approximately $4 billion.
Projected to be one of the largest EV battery manufacturing facilities of its kind in the U.S., the company has identified a site in De Soto, Kansas, for this potential project, pending approval by Panasonic Holdings Corporation Board of Directors.
“With the increased electrification of the automotive market, expanding battery production in the U.S. 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.”
This planned state-of-the-art facility will create and supply lithium-ion batteries and accelerate the future of electric vehicle innovation on a global scale. Panasonic Energy’s current U.S. battery manufacturing operation has shipped more than six billion EV battery cells. Panasonic Energy plans to expand its production of EV batteries as the automotive industry shifts to more sustainable electric technologies. The proposed development would boost the regional economy, creating opportunities for suppliers and community businesses.
“As the largest private investment in Kansas history and one of the largest EV battery manufacturing plants of its kind in the country, this project will be transformative for our state’s economy, providing in total 8,000 high-quality jobs that will help more Kansans create better lives for themselves and their children,” said Kansas Governor Laura Kelly. “Winning this project has shown that Kansas has what it takes to compete on a global scale — and that our pro-business climate is driving the technological innovation needed to achieve a more prosperous and sustainable future.”
Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland noted competition for this milestone project was strong and required a coordinated effort from the state. A key component of that undertaking was the enactment of the bipartisan Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) Act earlier this year.
“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.”
Panasonic Energy selected Kansas due to its business-friendly climate, robust talent pool and workforce skillset, support for technology innovation, strong transportation infrastructure, and central location. This builds on Kansas City’s legacy manufacturing and automotive industry strengths.
“With this major development, Kansas is being recognized around the world for our talented workforce, innovative environment and quality of life,” said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kan.). “Panasonic will bring thousands of good-paying, high-quality jobs to our state which will be a massive economic benefit for local businesses and our communities for decades to come. With the goal of making Kansas a destination for industry, defense, education, science, technology, engineering and innovation, we will keep our students, their knowledge and intellect in Kansas.”
Kansas has an established battery manufacturing sector with seven establishments employing approximately 1,300 individuals. The state ranked second in the nation for employment and wage concentration in the sector in 2021. With the opportunity to potentially add an additional 4,000 jobs, this deal will make Kansas an industry leader at a time when the sector is predicted to grow at an annualized rate of 2.4%.
“On behalf of the City Council and the community, I am thrilled to welcome Panasonic Energy to De Soto. The scale of Panasonic Energy’s investment in our community will usher in unprecedented generational economic prosperity for the state and region,” said De Soto Mayor Rick Walker. “We are honored to be part of it.”The Kansas City region is the third fastest-growing tech market in the U.S., and is a nucleus of engineering, technology and automotive manufacturing expertise. With a strong talent pipeline and cutting-edge training programs, the Kansas City market employs nearly 21,000 workers who contribute to the $19 billion KC transportation manufacturing industry.
“Panasonic Energy made the right choice to select the Kansas City region due to our market’s strengths in EV and tech innovation,” said Tim Cowden, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council. “This announcement, alongside FIFA’s selection of KC as 2026 World Cup host city, our new single-terminal airport coming online and global tech companies investing in the market, reinforces the transformational success our region is having on a global scale.”
The following organizations supported the recruitment of Panasonic Energy to Kansas: Kansas Department of Commerce; Kansas Department of Transportation; Kansas Department of Health and Environment; Kansas Department of Children and Families; the Honorable Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Ambassador to Japan; the U.S. Embassy to Tokyo; Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund; City of De Soto; De Soto Economic Development Council; Evergy; Sunflower Development Group; KC SmartPort; Johnson County Community College; Kansas City, Kansas Community College; Peaslee Tech; University of Kansas; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and Kansas City Area Development Council.