Panasonic Energy Co. plans to build a $4-billion electric vehicle battery plant in Kansas, company leaders and state officials announced July 13. 

The subsidiary of Japan-based tech company Panasonic Group did not say whether it had selected a designer or builder for the facility. A Wichita State University economic impact study estimated the project could support 16,500 construction jobs.

Panasonic identified a site in De Soto, Kan., just west of Kansas City, for the potential project, the company said in its announcement. 

The project would mark the largest-ever private investment in Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly said in a statement. The state offered Panasonic incentives worth an estimated $829.2 million, provided the company meets performance metrics for investments and hiring. Those incentives include a $500-million investment tax credit over five years and a $234-million payroll rebate over 10 years, plus reimbursement for costs like training and relocation. The incentives were offered through a new state program targeting specific industry investments of $1 billion or more. 

Panasonic already has a lithium-ion battery plant in Sparks, Nev., and the company supplies Tesla and other companies with EV batteries. Kazuo Tadanobu, president and CEO of Panasonic Energy, said in a statement that the company is expanding its U.S.-based battery production to meet demand tied to electrification of the automotive market. The Kansas plant would help Panasonic achieve greater efficiency and economies of scale, the company says. 

Kansas’ battery manufacturing sector employs about 1,300 people, state officials say. Panasonic says it could hire as many as 4,000 people at its future plant. 

Automakers have been moving to ramp up their EV battery production. GM and LG Energy Solution are building battery plants in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. Toyota is building its first U.S. battery plant in North Carolina. Ford and SK Innovation announced earlier this year that they had selected Barton Malow and Gray Construction to build a pair of battery plants in Kentucky, and Walbridge is heading construction for another Ford-SK battery plant and EV assembly plant in Tennessee.