Panasonic Building World's Largest EV Battery Plant In Kansas

Technology / 17 Comments

The news shocks local residents.

The EV race is in full swing, and most major carmakers are spending billions on charging networks, new models, and larger manufacturing plants. Panasonic, one of Japan's oldest and largest electronics giants plans on playing a significant role in the American EV market. As reported earlier this year, the company is getting ready to produce advanced, next-generation batteries for EV giant Tesla's vehicles such as the Model 3 and Model Y. In March we reported that Panasonic was getting ready to purchase a significant piece of land in the US for a new battery factory, and now the company has confirmed that it will be building a state-of-the-art electric vehicle battery plant in the Kansas City region. The new plant is expected to create 4,000 new jobs, and will see $4 billion flow into the community through capital investments.

Panasonic

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly made the announcement on Wednesday, and the news couldn't come at a better time: as inflation rates and gas prices soar, people struggle to make ends meet, the Kansas City area will see a significant uptick in economic activity. The new facility will be the world's largest electric vehicle (EV) battery plant, according to Panasonic. The new plant will manufacture lithium-ion batteries.

"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. 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," said Kelly.

Kansas is already a hub for battery manufacturing, the third-fastest growing tech market in the US, and currently hosts seven similar establishments that employ close to 1,500 people. The new investment will make Kansas the industry leader, with the sector predicted to grow at 2.4 percent per annum.

"With the increased electrification of the automotive market, expanding battery production in the US is critical to help meet demand. 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," said Kazuo Tadanobu, President, CEO of Panasonic Energy.

Panasonic's 4680 battery pack is the next step in battery tech, and shares its dimensions with an average soda can. This lithium-ion battery doesn't feature solid-state tech as yet, but with major players such as Tesla eyeing it for popular models such as the Model 3, Panasonic is seeing dollar signs.

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How long this battery tech will remain relevant for remains to be seen, as other competitors such as Mercedes-Benz and Toyota push forward with solid state technology that will push EV range even further. Either way, Kansas is smiling.

"Panasonic Energy made the right choice to select the Kansas City region due to our market's strengths in EV and tech innovation. 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," concluded Tim Cowden, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council.

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