Massive Panasonic plant in De Soto breaking ground Wednesday

Panasonic is breaking ground Wednesday on a massive new battery plant in De Soto that is...
Panasonic is breaking ground Wednesday on a massive new battery plant in De Soto that is expected to bring around 25,000 jobs.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:13 AM CDT
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DE SOTO, Ks. (KCTV) - Crews began work early Wednesday morning on what will be a massive Panasonic battery plant expected to bring around 25,000 jobs.

Earth movers and heavy equipment were being utilized starting around 4 a.m. Wednesday ahead of the official 10 a.m. groundbreaking at the old Sunflower Ammunition Plant in De Soto. That site is expected to start production of Panasonic electric vehicle batteries by March 2025.

The Kansas battery plant will mostly supply lithium-ion EV batteries to Tesla vehicles as part of an existing deal between the car company and Panasonic’s energy unit.

Kansas state officials announced in July that it had secured a commitment from Panasonic to build an EV battery plant at the site of the former Sunflower Ammunition Plant in De Soto, the third factory of its kind in the U.S. The commitment came after the state approved an $829 million investment package to entice the conglomerate to the Sunflower State.

The package included a $500 million investment tax credit (12.5% over 5 years); a $234 million payroll rebate paid over 10 years; $5 million for education and training per year over five years; a relocation investment of $1 million per year over 10 years; and a $60.2 million sales tax exemption over 5 years.

Gov. Laura Kelly called it an investment that will benefit the entire state. It’s expected to create 4,000 new jobs, plus support an estimated 4,000 additional jobs created by suppliers and community businesses, along with 16,500 construction jobs.

Area business owners, like Kenny Tygart who owns a pressure washing company, are excited about the new opportunities.

“There’s a lot of talk around town about how good this is going to be, a lot of the small businesses are talking about how it’s improving their business, maybe jobs for people here already. Overall, it’s a great situation,” he said earlier this week.

Others in town hoped the development would increase property values throughout Johnson County.

KCTV5 will continue to cover the plant’s construction and its impact on the area.