Panasonic to bring billion-dollar electric vehicle battery plant for Tesla to Kansas

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 12:42 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2022 at 12:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Governor Laura Kelly on Wednesday confirmed that Panasonic will build one of the largest electric vehicle battery facilities of its kind in DeSoto, Kan. The project is still pending approval by the Panasonic Holdings Corporation Board of Directors.

The planned project is expected to create up to 4,000 new jobs and result in an investment of up to $4 billion, which represents the largest economic development project in Kansas history. The development is also expected to create an estimated 4,000 additional jobs through suppliers and community businesses and 16,500 construction jobs as cited in an independent Wichita State University economic impact study.

“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 Gov. Kelly. “Winning this project shows 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.”

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.

“With this major development, Kansas is being recognized around the world for our talented workforce, innovative environment and quality of life,” said Sen. Moran. “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.”

The announcement required coordinated efforts from state leadership. In February, the Kansas Legislature passed the bipartisan Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) Act. It will be $829.2 million in public funds.

Speaker Ron Ryckman, Majority Leader Dan Hawkins and Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch released the following statement:

“Kansas has sent a clear message today that it can compete with and win against any state in the Union when it comes to economic development. Today’s announcement would not have been possible without the work of the House Commerce Committee and the legislature. The improvements to the APEX bill were a game changer in adding accountability, transparency, and right-sizing the available incentives so 8,000 new jobs could be created in Kansas.” While many in the Governor’s administration were content to push a bad bill under a false sense of urgency, the House was deliberate, thoughtful, and put together a plan that put Kansas first while remaining competitive in the economic development space. We salute all those in the legislature who worked hard on this measure and today we celebrate the results of that hard work as we welcome Panasonic to Kansas.”

Gov. Laura Kelly will make an announcement at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. It’s anticipated that she will confirm Panasonic is bringing an electric vehicle battery plant to Kansas.

The news broke earlier on Wednesday after Nikkei Asia said that Panasonic would invest several billion dollars in a second U.S. electric vehicle battery factory the state. The plant would supply new high-capacity batteries for Tesla.

The article did not specify the plant’s location, but WDAF in Kansas City reports Johnson County officials have said northeast Kansas is a likely possibility.

The State Finance Council met at 3 p.m. They went into executive session and then adjourned the meeting after less than an hour. No information from the meeting was released.

The council would have to approve the incentives for Panasonic. It’s believed to be the same large incentive package lawmakers approved earlier this year for an unnamed business project. The Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion Act (APEX) is designed to bring in new companies to the state that make $1 billion or greater by offering tax credits, reimbursement on payroll and employee training and exemptions for sales and property taxes.

In a tweet, Senator Roger Marshall also congratulated Kansas on the news, saying it will bring billions of dollars in investments and thousands of jobs to the state.

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