- Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited the site of the future $4 billion Panasonic battery production site in De Soto, Kansas, on Monday.
- The company broke ground on the battery production facility in November, and will start recruiting later this year for the 4,000 jobs it’s expected to create.
- Buttigieg praised the facility as an example of the push throughout the industry to make EV production more affordable. "We are bringing EV costs down and the number of jobs in EV manufacturing up at the same time," the secretary said in his remarks.
During his remarks, Buttigieg credited the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act for making recent “big wins” like the Panasonic project possible.
Large-scale EV manufacturing projects have been coming through the pipeline since the passage of the three federal funding laws over the past year. Earlier this month, Ford announced plans for a $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan, and in January, Tesla said it would invest $3.6 billion to expand its manufacturing footprint in Nevada. Hyundai Motor Group also broke ground on a $5.5 billion EV campus in Georgia last year.
The secretary highlighted the many jobs new facilities in the country are creating, including during both site construction and once production is underway.
“The construction workers aren't just building a factory, they're building livelihoods,” Buttigieg said. “For themselves, for their families, for their communities and for the 4,000 workers who will then put food on the table [and] put their kids through school working on the assembly lines.”
He also noted that while jobs at EV manufacturing facilities would require technical expertise and skill, many would not need four-year college degrees. Panasonic has partnered with Kansas-based organizations like Johnson County Community College on training and recruitment for the upcoming facility,
"Seeing those jobs coming back, seeing those jobs grow here in Kansas, in new auto and auto-related plants, in Indiana, in Michigan, in Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee, in Georgia and Nevada... demonstrates that it really is a new and stronger era for American manufacturing," Buttigieg said.