Japan’s Panasonic to build Tesla batteries in Kansas: report

Panasonic Holdings Corp. is planning to invest several billion dollars in a factory in Kansas to supply a new high-capacity battery for Tesla Inc.’s electric vehicles, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported on Wednesday.

The Japanese corporation aims to triple or quadruple EV battery production capacity by fiscal 2028 from the current level of roughly 50 gigawatt-hours per year.

The factory is projected to cost $ 4 billion and may have as many as 4,000 employees with average annual salaries of $ 50,000.

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Oklahoma and Kansas were finalists in Panasonic’s search to supply the batteries to the US electric automaker’s plant in Texas.

Oklahoma leaned heavily into its recruitment of Panasonic. In April, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a $ 698 million incentive package reportedly aimed at offline Panasonic. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed an incentive program of $ 1.2 billion, including a refundable 15% tax credit on the entire investment, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

In a January interview, Kansas Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said the project would prove “transformative” if Kansas were to land it.

“It will supercharge the rate of growth in our state and have a positive ripple effect on small businesses, both in the region where the business locates and across the state,” Toland said. “It is of significant importance to the Kansas economy that we win this opportunity.”

Tesla and Panasonic grand opening of factory

Billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., left, speaks as Jeffrey Straubel, chief technical officer and co-founder of Tesla Motors Inc., center, and Yoshihiko Yamada, consultant at Panasonic Corp., look on during a press ev (Troy Harvey / Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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In July 2016, Panasonic and Tesla celebrated the grand opening of the first US plant in Nevada, the Gigafactory 1. The Nevada factory supplies smaller batteries to Tesla.

There is no firm timeframe for when the Kansas facility might be completed. Reuters suggested Panasonic would begin manufacturing the batteries at a Japanese plant by 2024 before shifting production to the United States.

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While Panasonic hasn’t announced exactly where in Kansas the new plant will be located, Johnson County is a likely possibility.

Governor Kelly’s office declined to comment on the Nikkea report.

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