Panasonic announced on Wednesday that it’s inked a $4 billion investment deal with the state of Kansas to build and operate the world’s largest battery cell production facility. The company has already identified a site near the city of De Soto, at a former ammunition factory.
“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,” Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said during Wednesday’s press conference.
The plant will produce high-capacity cells for Tesla, according to Nikkei Asia. Panasonic already jointly operates the Reno, Nevada Gigafactory with the automaker. Tesla opened a third Gigafactory, in Austin, this past April. This project is expected to produce 4,000 permanent jobs at the factory as well as 16,500 construction jobs.
Despite the global economic shock and supply chain shortages instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tesla saw its vehicle deliveries jump nearly 90 percent between 2020 and 2021. The company had begun developing a proprietary line of batteries in 2019 and has been routinely snapping up exclusive deals with lithium suppliers.
Similarly, GM and Ford have made sizable investments in both battery and EV production facilities, in recent years. GM is spending $7 billion in Michigan alone, part of which is going towards a $2.4 billion battery and EV facility outside Lansing, while Ford has put up a whopping $29 billion towards its electrification and autonomous technology commitments.