Panasonic Energy Co. has selected more firms for its project team to build a $4-billion electric vehicle battery plant in Kansas. Site work at the De Soto property began last month.

Greenville, S.C.-based Industrial Project Innovation is the construction manager, Panasonic said in a Dec. 22 announcement. Portland, Ore.-based Mackenzie Inc. is the architect-of-record; Toledo, Ohio-based SSOE Group is providing engineering and design work; and Columbia, Mo.-based Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. and Kansas City, Mo.-based Kissick Construction Co. Inc. are doing site preparation.

SSOE has been involved “since the earliest stage” of evaluating sites, according to Panasonic. It settled on a 300-acre site in Astra Enterprise Park, a long-vacant former U.S. Army ammunition plant west of Kansas City. 

The companies say they will present the project for city approval one phase at a time because of the planned facility’s complexity and size. The team is designing a U-in-plan plant sited around support structures and utility buildings. 

“Over the next few years, this project will also be responsible for providing tens of thousands" of construction and facility operations jobs, Dana Brumley, SSOE’ plant design manager, said in a statement.

Panasonic Energy, which was established last April as a subsidiary of the Panasonic Group, says the lithium-ion EV battery plant would have an initial production capacity of 30 GWh. It aims to begin production in March 2025. 

The plant would initially produce Panasonic’s 2170 EV batteries, which the company says are currently in high demand. Panasonic also produces the batteries at its Sparks, Nev., plant, which supplies electric automaker Tesla. The firm did not say whether this plant would also supply Tesla, but it announced earlier this month that it would supply EV automaker Lucid from the Kansas plant and another facility in Japan. 

The project comes in the wake of President Joe Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act in August. The law provides a clean vehicle credit but requires North American battery assembly. Last year's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also included funds to expand EV battery manufacturing.

Panasonic also announced in November that it had entered an agreement with Carson City, Nev.-based Redwood Materials Inc. to supply materials for both its Nevada and Kansas battery plants. 

Redwood announced this month its plans to build a battery cell recycling and remanufacturing facility in South Carolina.