Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd. has announced plans to invest $4 billion in building a cutting-edge electric vehicle (EV) battery facility in the Kansas City Region, which could create up to 4,000 new jobs, making it the largest economic development project in the state’s history. The proposed site is in De Soto, KS, subject to approval by Panasonic Holdings Corporation’s board of directors.

The facility, set to be one of the largest EV battery manufacturing sites of its kind in the US, will create and supply lithium-ion batteries to accelerate the future of EV innovation on a global scale. Panasonic Energy’s current US battery manufacturing operation has already shipped over six billion EV battery cells, and the company aims to expand its production of EV batteries as the automotive industry shifts to more sustainable electric technologies.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly called the project “the largest private investment in Kansas history,” adding that it will “provide in total 8,000 high-quality jobs that will help more Kansans create better lives for themselves and their children,” and “show that our pro-business climate is driving the technological innovation needed to achieve a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland noted that a coordinated effort from the state was required to secure the project and enacted the bipartisan Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) Act to pursue megaprojects that could transform the Kansas economy.

Kansas was selected due to its business-friendly climate, robust talent pool, and workforce skillset, support for technology innovation, strong transportation infrastructure, and central location, as well as its legacy manufacturing and automotive industry strengths.

The region is the third fastest-growing tech market in the US, with a strong talent pipeline and cutting-edge training programs. The Kansas City market employs nearly 21,000 workers who contribute to the $19 billion KC transportation manufacturing industry.

According to Panasonic’s CEO Kazuo Tadanobu, “with the increased electrification of the automotive market, expanding battery production in the US is critical to help meet demand.” The new facility will produce lithium-ion batteries that will be more durable and charge faster than those currently on the market.

The expansion of the battery manufacturing sector in Kansas will provide a significant boost to the state’s economy and create new opportunities for suppliers and community businesses. Additionally, the deal positions Kansas as an industry leader in the growing EV market, which is predicted to grow at an annualized rate of 2.4%.