Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly recently joined Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd. and De Soto leaders to break ground on one of the largest electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facilities of its kind in the United States. The Panasonic Holdings Corporation Board of Directors approved the De Soto site during its October 31 board meeting.
The 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 significantly boost 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.
“I am thrilled to be with Panasonic today to break ground on a project that will transform our state’s economy,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This facility doesn’t just represent 8,000 high-paying jobs for Kansans – it also represents my administration’s success in creating a pro-business climate that attracts young talent, supports innovation, and drives a more prosperous future. I’m glad we were able to successfully work with leaders of both parties to bring Panasonic home to Kansas.”
The state-of-the-art facility will create and supply lithium-ion batteries and accelerate the future of electric vehicle innovation on a global scale.
“At Panasonic, we are driving forward EV battery manufacturing capacity and innovation in America,” said Allan Swan, President of Panasonic Energy of North America. “Kansas, with its inviting community, exceptional talent and vision for the future, is the perfect home for our next chapter and we’re glad to be here.”
Panasonic Energy selected Kansas because of 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. A key component of Kansas’ recruitment efforts was the enactment of the bipartisan Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) Act earlier this year.
“The passing of APEX into law was a game-changer for our state that resulted in the largest economic development project in Kansas history,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “We look forward to sharing our talented workforce, innovative spirit and excellent quality-of-life benefits with the Panasonic teams. The ecosystem that will be built around this plant promises a variety of opportunities and prosperity for local businesses and communities throughout the region.”
The Panasonic project is one of numerous economic development wins recently announced by the state. Earlier this month, Governor Kelly reported the state surpassed $14 billion new, private-sector investments since January 2019 – resulting in more than 53,000 jobs being created or retained.
The Kansas City region is the third fastest-growing tech market in the United States 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 area’s $19 billion transportation and manufacturing industry.
“Today’s groundbreaking of Panasonic Energy’s new manufacturing facility in De Soto is a major step forward in creating new opportunity for Kansans,” said Representative Sharice Davids (KS-03). “I was happy to work closely with Governor Kelly, Senator Jerry Moran, and other leaders in both parties to help attract this new $4 billion investment to Kansas’ Third District. Creating domestic manufacturing jobs and lowering costs for Kansas business and families continues to be a main priority of mine, and I’m excited to see the future economic development that will follow today’s ceremony.”
Detailed information on the Panasonic project can be found on the Kansas Commerce website (kansascommerce.gov/Panasonic), including the “Supplier Interest Form” for businesses and “Employment Interest Form” for individuals.