The future created by Panasonic’s Automotive battery plant in Kansas, U.S.A.: contributing to increasing EV adoption and CO₂ reduction

Panasonic has supplied batteries for a cumulative total of three million electric vehicles (EVs)* and is one of the leading manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries in North America.

CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions are known to have a significant impact on climate change, and the IEA estimates that approximately one-quarter of the world’s emissions are generated by transportation. The transition to EVs will reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles that run on fossil fuels. In addition to reducing emissions from Panasonic’s own operations, this “reduction contribution” also advances Panasonic’s commitment to fight climate change. The automotive battery business is the flagship of the Panasonic Group’s efforts to confront climate change issues.

Allan Swan, CEO of Panasonic Energy of North America, oversees Panasonic’s operation at the Gigafactory in Nevada, and he is leading the construction of a brand new facility for Panasonic Energy—the world’s largest automotive battery plant—in Kansas. We spoke with him about the role of the Panasonic Group’s battery business.

Construction on the cutting-edge, state-of-the-art automotive battery plant in De Soto, Kansas, began in November 2022, and we are targeting start of production in 2025. The plant will increase our production of the 2170 cylindrical lithium-ion battery for electric vehicles, which is in high demand from automotive manufacturers.

Panasonic Group has more than a century of experience making batteries. Our automotive batteries for EVs, which boast high safety, high capacity, and high energy density, have been achieved through technological expertise that we have cultivated over the company’s long history. I am pleased to have a base of operations in Kansas to complement the one in Nevada. With these two plants, we hope to accelerate the spread of EVs and make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.

In North America, the shift to EVs is expected to accelerate against the backdrop of stricter environmental regulations and consumer demand for high-performing, fun-to-drive electric vehicles. In addition, high demand for long-distance travel in the U.S. makes this the market where we can best utilize our high-capacity technology, one of our strengths. If trucks, trains, and buses are included, this is a very large market for automotive batteries.

Many customers who want to use our technology are based in North America, so it makes sense to manufacture EV batteries here. The EV market is also starting to evolve. Our technology for cylindrical lithium-ion batteries is becoming increasingly important. We are in a great situation where our technology matches the needs of the market.

In addition, North America offers “local sourcing” of raw materials mined and processed in a responsible manner, often using renewable energy and other sustainability best practices. As a pioneer in this market, we are making a rapid succession of bold investments to strengthen our position in North America as the leading company driving the adoption of EVs.

By centralizing material procurement and production in North America, where many of our customers are located, we will be able to drastically reduce our supply chain emissions. As fossil fuel-powered vehicles are replaced by EVs, CO2 emissions from vehicles currently on the road can be avoided, as well.

The automotive battery business plays an important role in contributing to solving climate change issues, which we believe must be addressed for the sake of our children, grandchildren, and future generations.

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