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Kansas lands $4B Panasonic electric vehicle battery plant slated for De Soto

Panasonic ev battery plant
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 01:36:22-04

TOPEKA, Kan. — On Wednesday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced that Panasonic has selected De Soto, Kansas, as the site to build a $4 billion battery plant.

"This first of its kind investment will represent the largest economic development project in Kansas' 161-year history," Kelly said.

In a press conference, Kelly said the plant is expected to bring 4,000 planned new jobs to the state.

Kelly also said the investment from Panasonic could create 4,000 jobs through businesses.

"We will be the production epicenter for batteries that will power the increasing demand for EVU's in a more sustainable world," Kelly said. "A new facility of this size is transformational, not only for Johnson County, but also for the entire state."

Through the Panasonic investment, $2.5 billion in yearly economic activity is projected.

"We shifted our focus from recruiting companies across a state line to recruiting companies across the international dateline," David Toland, Lieutenant Governor of Kansas said during Wednesday's announcement.

A study from Wichita State University predicts 16,500 construction jobs could be created as part of the investment.

"This helps us, makes us less dependent upon China," Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said. "It improves our job capabilities and increases our national security."

Kansas beat Oklahoma for the project with the sunflower state offering the Japanese manufacturer an incentives package worth more than $820 million.

The two largest pot-sweeteners include a five-year, $500 million investment tax credit and a 10-year, $234 million payroll rebate.

Additional incentives include $25 million over five years for training and education, $10 million over 10 years for relocation investment and $60.2 million over five years in sales tax exemptions.

"It takes money to make money and this is an investment where we're investing some money to be able to attract this and we will get an incredible return on investment," Kelly said. "You know, we've calculated numbers, it's going to be like a one to 26 return on investment."

The governor's office says the state incentives to Panasonic will be provided on a reimbursement basis only after the company has made investments and hired workers,

Once its up running, the Kansas Panasonic factory will reportedly make batteries for Toyota and Tesla vehicles, specifically a high-capacity cell that could help Tesla introduce a $25,000 model to consumers.

"With the people in Kansas, we will provide critical production capacity to one of the fastest growing and most exciting industries in the world," Yasuaki “Kris” Takamoto, Executive VP for the Panasonic Energy Company, said.

Officials on Thursday didn't immediately say when the plant would open.