Forward-looking: Electric vehicles continue to grow more popular with each passing year -- it's a fast-growing industry that many tech companies are seeking to get a piece of, and Panasonic is no different. The Japanese conglomerate has just announced plans to build a massive EV battery plant in Kansas. This factory will be responsible for supplying Tesla cars with high-capacity batteries.
The factory will create up to 8,000 new jobs in the state, according to Governor Laura Kelly. 4,000 of those jobs will come directly from the factory, while Kelly expects an additional 4,000 to be created by "suppliers and community businesses." These jobs will be backed by a whopping $4 billion investment from Panasonic into the factory's construction and continued operations.
According to Nikkei Asia, Panasonic chose Kansas as its factory site due to the state's "favorable tax treatment" for businesses and the relatively short distance between it and Texas -- the location of Tesla's current global HQ; a sprawling, 2,500-acre Gigafactory.
We aren't sure which Tesla vehicle models will benefit the most from Panasonic's new factory. However, given that Texas' Gigafactory is primarily responsible for Model Y production and future Cybertruck production, both cars seem like strong contenders.
"As the largest private investment in Kansas history and one of the largest EV battery manufacturing plants of its kind in the country, this project will be transformative for our state's economy," Governor Kelly said in a statement. "Winning this project shows that Kansas has what it takes to compete on a global scale — and that our pro-business climate is driving the technological innovation needed to achieve a more prosperous and sustainable future."
This is indeed a big win for Kansas and one that wasn't achieved at random. Thanks to the state's "APEX" legislation (passed back in February), Kansas could attract Panasonic's interest on a level competing states simply could not. The APEX act -- "Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion" -- offers qualifying businesses refundable tax credits, partial payroll rebates for up to 10 years, training reimbursement, relocation reimbursement, and even complete sales tax exemption for up-front factory material costs during construction.
These benefits only apply to one firm per year until it ends in 2023, meaning only two firms can possibly reap these benefits. Panasonic is already occupying the 2022 slot, but 2023 is currently open.
Masthead credit: Nikkei Asia