Panasonic has announced plans for a new battery factory in Kansas which would cost the company $4 billion and create 4,000 new jobs.

The new production plant would be located in De Soto, a Kansas City suburb, and might eventually employ up to 4,000 people when it opens in a few years.

The project will be one of the largest battery plants in the U.S. and is the “largest private investment in Kansas history,” according to Governor Laura Kelly.

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In a webcast announcing the news, she said: “This project will be transformative for our state’s economy, providing in total 8,000 high-quality jobs.”

Panasonic, which is a major partner of Tesla, at its Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, had been looking for a significant new U.S. manufacturing plant this year, with media reports indicating that Kansas and Oklahoma were the frontrunners.

The Japanese giant, which also collaborates closely with Toyota, did not say which automakers it will supply from the De Soto factory when it opens.

Panasonic stated that its existing U.S. production lines have already provided more than six billion EV battery cells, the majority of which are likely powering Tesla vehicles.

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The news follows comparable substantial investments in a new battery and electric car factories in the United States during the last year.

Hyundai Motor said in May it will invest $5.5 billion in a Georgia factory to produce EVs and batteries, after the announcement in January that General Motors and LG Chem will construct a $2.6 billion battery plant in Michigan.

Ford and its battery partner, South Korea’s SK Innovation, unveiled plans in September to invest more than $11 billion in battery manufacturing facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Despite relatively high pricing when compared to gasoline-powered versions, electric car sales in the United States continue to expand significantly.

The average transaction price for electric cars increased to $66,997 in June, up 14 percent from a year earlier, while the average price for all new automobiles was $48,043.

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Ford, Hyundai, Kia, General Motors, and Volkswagen are all launching new electric vehicles and increasing production, while Tesla continues to lead in terms of volume.

AutoPacific, sales of battery-only vehicles will exceed 700,000 this year and 2.5 million by 2027.

Panasonic disclosed last year it sold its outstanding Tesla stake for $3.6 billion but said the companies would remain to work together closely.

Source: Forbes

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