Panasonic Energy Breaks Ground New EV Battery Plant

Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., a Panasonic Group company, has started construction on a new lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in De Soto, Kansas in the United States. Accordingly, the project will drive significant economic activity and opportunities and will make the state a key player in the domestic electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Facility construction focuses on rapidly ramping up manufacture of “2170” cylindrical Li-ion batteries to meet surging domestic EV battery demand. Panasonic Energy plans to begin mass production in Kansas by March 2025.

Most importantly, upon completion of the facility, it will maintain annual total production capacity of approximately 30GWh. This will enable the company to supply EV manufacturers across the United States.

Key Economic Driver

Kazuo Tadanobu, President, CEO of Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd. said the groundbreaking is an important step in expanding its production capacity in North America. Notably, demand for lithium-ion batteries in the region is growing exponentially.

In addition, Tadanobu said, “With our leading technology, proven expertise, and the state of Kansas as a critical partner, we will continue driving the industry forward while pursuing a more prosperous and sustainable future for our society.”

The facility lies at the Astra Enterprise Park site and will once again make the location a key economic driver for the region. Two contractors from the local Kansas City area have been awarded contracts for site preparation, with Panasonic Energy expecting to onboard additional firms in the coming months.

Kansas’ skilled manufacturing workforce, reliable infrastructure, and central location in North America makes it an ideal location for this facility. Hence, the facility can create up to 4,000 jobs. Recruitment for the first positions is expected to begin mid-2023.

Panasonic has a long track record of supporting the communities where it operates, including investing in local education, talent development, mentorship, volunteerism and environmental initiatives. Moreover, as a first step in the company’s new commitment to Kansas and the De Soto community, Panasonic is making a US$25,000 donation to Unified School District No. 232 to support educational opportunities for students.

Reinforcing Capacity, Technology

Panasonic Energy is a global leader in lithium-ion batteries, with a nearly 100-year history of innovation in batteries. This spans both battery cell technology and battery business operations.

Furthermore, the company continues to strengthen its lineup of automotive lithium-ion batteries and expand its production capacity, currently developing the new “4680” high-capacity lithium-ion battery in Japan. In fact, Panasonic Energy’s facility in Sparks, Nevada, is now one of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factories, surpassing six billion EV battery cells shipped.

The expansion in Kansas builds on its proven success as the North American market leader in EV lithium-ion batteries and long-term commitment to advancing the EV industry in the United States.

“Expanding production capacity in Kansas will enable us to continue delivering the highest quality batteries for our automotive partners as demand grows,” said Kris Takamoto, Executive Vice President of Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., Head of EV Battery Business.

In addition, Takamoto said, “We are already producing more than five million battery cells a day in North America. (The) new facility in Kansas will further grow our capacity, efficiency and economies of scale which are critical to a net-zero emissions future.”

The new battery manufacturing facility will also support the company’s commitment to contribute to society by reducing global carbon emissions. The factory is a demonstration of Panasonic’s Green IMPACT initiative, which is aimed at reducing the company’s own CO2 emission to virtually net-zero by 2030 and contributing to 300 million tons in avoided emissions by 2050.