'We've been found': Panasonic chooses Kansas over Oklahoma for multi-billion dollar investment
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE)- Governor Laura Kelly announced Wednesday that Panasonic Energy plans to build one of the largest electric vehicle battery plants of it's kind in De Soto, Kansas.
The announcement came after months of speculation, with Panasonic's interest shrouded in mystery for the majority of it.
"With the people of Kansas, we will provide critical protection capacity to one of the fastest growing and most exciting industries in the world," said Kris Takamato, Executive Vice President of Panasonic Energy.
Takamato said Panasonic selected Kansas due to its business-friendly climate, workforce, strong transportation infrastructure and its central location in the United States. The project is expected to create up to 4,000 new jobs and lead to an investment of up to $4,000,000,000 in Kansas' economy. Governor Kelly also suggested that the project could create an additional 4,000 jobs through suppliers and community businesses.
"This first of its kind investment will represent the largest economic development project in Kansas' 161-year history," said Governor Kelly.
The facility will create and supply-lithium-ion batteries. Panasonic Energy says its current U.S. battery manufacturing operation has shipped more than 6,000,000,000 electric vehicle battery cells to date.
State leaders at Wednesday's announcement in Topeka also credited the APEX bill signed into Kansas law earlier this year with Kansas being chosen as the location of the new site. The law offers Panasonic Energy more than $800,000,000 in incentives. Oklahoma also competed for Panasonic's business with its own incentive package, with the company ultimately selecting Kansas as the stronger contender.
"I want to thank leaders of Panasonic for recognizing our state's value," said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran Wednesday.
Moran said that he was proud that Kansas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were able to put aside their differences to make a decision he believes is in the best interest of our state.
"The places in this country that have been thought to be the most desirable have become a lot less so than Kansas," said Moran. "And we've been found."
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt's office also responded to Panasonic Energy's decision saying:
"Governor Stitt is confident in his plan to attract companies to Oklahoma. This is not the end of the governor’s strategy to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state for business and Oklahomans would be wise to not count us out just yet."