Panasonic to build $4bn battery plant in US to supply Tesla

Panasonic’s cylindrical lithium-ion batteries. (Image courtesy of Panasonic.)

Japan’s Panasonic is deepening its ties with electric vehicles (EVs) maker Tesla by planning a battery plant in Kansas, US, which will cost $4 billion.

The facility is expected to supply the EV giant with a new high-capacity battery and boost Panasonic Energy’s production capacity by fiscal 2028 from the current level of roughly 50 gigawatt-hours per year to between 150 and 200 GWh.

The Japanese company, the world’s third-largest EV batteries producer behind CATL and LG Energy Solution, already operates a $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada with Tesla.

Panasonic picked the site of the new facility based on factors including its proximity to Texas, where Tesla moved its headquarters last year, and favorable tax treatment. Oklahoma had also been considered as a candidate location.

The factory is expected to hire as many as 4,000 employees and include a facility for research in next-generation 4680 battery, which it plans to mass produce from 2023.

“With the increased electrification of the automotive market, expanding battery production in the US is critical to help meet demand,” Kazuo Tadanobu, president and CEO of Panasonic Energy, said in the statement.

“We aim to continue driving growth of the lithium-ion battery industry and accelerating towards a net-zero emissions future,” Tadanobu said.

The newly planned plant is part of its push to increase investment in EV cell production — a segment the 104-year-old Japanese electronics giant sees as critical for future growth.