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Panasonic Reportedly Weighing Several U.S. Locations For New Battery Plant

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Panasonic Corp. is in talks to open a multibillion-dollar factory in the U.S. in a move to match rival lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

The Japanese manufacturer is weighing several locations, including in Oklahoma and Kansas, Bloomberg reported, citing multiple anonymous sources. 

Panasonic, which supplies electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, would reportedly produce its "4680" battery at the plant. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said this newer model of battery could help reduce the cost of the company's vehicles to $25K. 

Once a location is selected, Panasonic could begin operations as soon as 2024, Bloomberg reported. Panasonic has supplied Tesla with batteries in the past and Musk's company has asked it to begin manufacturing the 4680 batteries, but Panasonic also plans to sell them to other automakers, Bloomberg reported. 

A Panasonic spokesperson responded to Bloomberg that the company hasn't yet announced plans for a new battery factory in the U.S. The company is also planning to begin manufacturing the 4680 batteries at a plant in Japan in the coming months. 

Panasonic would be the latest in a series of battery manufacturers opening or expanding in the U.S. market after pandemic-related supply chain woes prompted a call from public officials and customers alike for increased domestic manufacturing.

That in turn has led to increased industrial development, often in the Southeast.

South Korea-based SK Innovation has led the pack on that front. The battery maker announced it would build two plants on the outskirts of Atlanta in 2018.

Then last fall, Ford announced a partnership with SK Innovation to build three factories that would produce batteries for electric vehicles and a fourth to build its electric F-series trucks. Those plants are planned for Tennessee and Kentucky.

In December, EV-startup Rivian also announced it would build a $5B electric vehicle assembly plant in Georgia.

When it opens its new plant, Panasonic would also be following a path blazed by South Korea-based LG Energy Solution and China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., both of which have pursued expanding manufacturing in the United States.

Related Topics: Panasonic Corp, Oklahoma, Kansas