Kansas Lands $4B, 4,000-Job Panasonic Energy Electric Vehicle Battery Plant

Jul 13, 2022

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~Governor Laura Kelly Successfully Wins Largest Economic Development Project in State History~

Topeka, Kan. – July 13, 2022 – Today, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., plans to build one of the largest electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facilities of its kind in the United States in Kansas. Pending approval by Panasonic Holdings Corporation Board of Directors, the company has identified a site in De Soto for the potential project.

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 will have ripple effects throughout the regional and state economy, supporting an estimated 4,000 additional jobs created by 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 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.”

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.

“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.

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 of 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 was 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 percent.

“Kansas is proving itself to be an attractive place where entrepreneurs can unleash innovation and create jobs,” said Senator Ty Masterson, President of the Kansas Senate. “The Panasonic announcement shows that attraction is global.”

“When the Kansas Legislature passed the APEX legislation, this was the kind of megaproject we had in mind,” said Representative Ron Ryckman, Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives.

The proposed Panasonic project is the latest economic development win recently announced by the state:

–    Last month, Governor Kelly said the state surpassed $9 billion new, private-sector investments since January 2019 resulting in more than 43,500 jobs being created or retained.

–    Also in June, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel Award  for the second year in a row. The back-to-back wins are unprecedented in state history.

–    In March, Kansas won the Governor’s Cup from Site Selection Magazine for having the country’s most economic development investment per capita.

“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 electric vehicle industry is expected to grow eight times its size in less than 10 years, which is an incredible opportunity for states, communities and energy partners to support leading, innovative technology companies,” said David Campbell, President and CEO of Evergy. On behalf of our region’s business community, we are very excited to welcome Panasonic Energy to Kansas and the Kansas City Region, and we look forward to supporting your long-term success.”

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 Emanual, 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.

A full media kit is located here: https://thinkkc.com/news/media-kit/

About Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd.

Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., established in April 2022 as part of the Panasonic Group’s switch to an operating company system, provides innovative battery technology-based products and solutions globally. Through its automotive lithium-ion batteries, storage battery systems and dry batteries, the company brings safe, reliable, and convenient power to a broad range of business areas, from mobility and social infrastructure to medical and consumer products. Panasonic Energy is committed to contributing to a society that realizes happiness and environmental sustainability, and through its business activities the Company aims to address societal issues while taking the lead on environmental initiatives. For more details, please visit panasonic.com/global/energy

About Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine. | KansasCommerce.gov

About KCADC

The Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) serves the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area by marketing the region’s business and lifestyle assets to companies around the world. Working closely with its two states, and 50-plus county and community partners, the region has attracted more than 60,000 new jobs over its 40-plus-year history. Leading the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, TeamKC, KC Heartland and KC Global Design, KCADC’s clients consistently rank the organization as the No. 1 economic development group in the nation. | thinkKC.com

About Greater Kansas City
Home to 2.6 million people, the Kansas City region is centrally located in the heart of America and boasts a diverse industry base supported by robust infrastructure and a skilled workforce. A center for manufacturing, technology and logistics, KC is named the No. 2 North American auto industry trading hub and ranks a 2022 Top 10 Hottest Job Markets. | KC.org