Panasonic breaks ground on $4 billion Kansas battery plant to supply Tesla

Four months after choosing De Soto, Kansas, as the location of its future electric vehicle battery factory, Panasonic has broken ground on the $4 billion factory, which the United States aims to increase domestic production. An important event is the number of assembled EV batteries.

The factory will primarily supply batteries for Tesla, the world's largest seller of electric cars, and is ready to start production of its Cybertruck by the end of 2023. The plant will focus on rapidly ramping up production of Tesla's 2170 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries that power the company's Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Panasonic is also working with Tesla to develop the next-generation 4680 battery. During the most recent earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that production of the 4680 has tripled compared to the third quarter of 2021 and that he hopes the company will soon start installing it on its cars. these batteries.

The plant is expected to create as many as 4,000 jobs. Recruiting for the first positions is expected to begin in mid-2023, according to Panasonic, one of several battery makers building large-scale factories in the United States.

Localizing battery production in the U.S. is important for automakers looking to receive a $7,500-per-vehicle tax credit that requires electric vehicles to be assembled in the United States. Foreign automakers have expressed concern that the new tax credit could discriminate against companies without U.S. manufacturing facilities, but they have also begun taking steps to localize production in the United States.

Ford said its three new battery plants will have an annual production capacity of 129GWh. General Motors is planning to build four new battery plants with LG Chem in the US with a combined annual capacity of 140GWh, while Volkswagen aims to build six battery cell production plants in Europe with a combined annual capacity of 240GWh by 2030. Stellantis is planning to build a new plant in Indiana with an initial annual capacity of 23GWh. BMW, Hyundai, and Honda have also announced plans for factories in the United States.

Panasonic's new factory is expected to be larger than Panasonic and Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada. Panasonic announced in February that it plans to start mass production of lithium-ion batteries for Tesla by 2024.

Of course, Panasonic chose Kansas for a purpose. The company will receive a massive incentive package worth up to $829.2 million, including $500 million in investment tax credits over five years and $234 million in payroll tax rebates over 10 years, among other sweeteners.

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