Sen. Moran, State Leadership Announce Historic Economic Development Project for Kansas

Topeka, KS– U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kan.) joined Kansas state leadership to announce plans by Panasonic Energy 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 be a massive economic benefit to the regional and state economy, supporting an estimated 4,000 additional jobs created by supplies and community businesses and 16,500 construction jobs as cited in an independent Wichita State University economic impact study.

“With this major development, Kansas is being recognized around the world for our talented workforce, innovative environment and quality of life,” said Sen. Moran. “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.”

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 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.”

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.

This announcement required coordinated effort from state leadership, a key part of which was the passage of the bipartisan Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) Act by the Kansas Legislature in the February 2022.

“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.”

“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.

“Once Governor Kelly signed APEX into law,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David 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.”

“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.”

“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.”