Panasonic, the Japanese electronics giant, announced Thursday that it will invest $4 billion in a new battery factory for electric vehicles in the United States.
According to Panasonic, the lithium-ion battery plant in Kansas could create up to 4,000 new jobs as the Tesla supplier seeks to expand its presence.
“With the increased electrification of the automotive market, expanding battery production in the United States is critical to help meet demand,” said Kazuo Tadanobu, president and CEO of Panasonic Energy.
Panasonic’s new factory will be the company’s second in the United States, following its Nevada facility.
The announcement comes as Tesla struggles to increase production after announcing two new factories in Germany and Texas earlier this year.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly praised Panasonic’s decision as “transformative” for the local economy.
The new factory is expected to be located in De Soto, Kansas, but the move is subject to Panasonic’s board of directors’ approval.
The decision was also praised by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who called Kansas’ selection as “one of the largest battery production sites for the next generation of electric vehicles” a “vote of confidence” in the US economy and its workers.