De SOTO, Kan. (WDAF) — Panasonic officially started construction of a new electric vehicle battery plant in De Soto on Wednesday.
It’s the largest economic development project in the history of Kansas.
The Japanese company says it will begin mass-producing batteries in De Soto for the booming electric vehicle market by March 2025.
Panasonic says building cylindrical “2170” lithium-ion batteries in De Soto will spur innovation and provide critical production capacity to fuel economic growth and other opportunities for the entire region.
The Kansas factory will supply batteries primarily to Tesla.
Panasonic’s investment in the United States will also help electric car buyers qualify for new vehicle tax credits.
Governor Laura Kelly says the Kansas factory will create up to 4,000 jobs with investment totaling up to $4 billion.
“There’s absolutely no doubt, this project will be transformative for De Soto, the region, and the entire state of Kansas,” Kelly said. “It will make Kansas a global leader in electric vehicle battery production. It will bring thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs to our state and it will create an additional 4,000 jobs for suppliers and businesses throughout the region.”
Panasonic’s battery factory in Nevada has shipped 6 billion EV battery cells so far, and the company says it already produces more than 5 million battery cells a day in North America.
Panasonic Energy also announced its first philanthropic commitment to the community, donating $25,000 to the De Soto School District.