DE SOTO, Kan. —Construction on Panasonic’s new $4 billion electric vehicle battery plant in De Soto has officially gone vertical.

After breaking ground on the multi-billion project in November, construction workers set the new facility’s first steel beam on April 26. 

“This first piece of steel is so much more than simply a piece of material. It represents the starting point for creating thousands of jobs over the next couple of years,” Allan Swan, President of Panasonic Energy of North America, said in a press release. 

“It represents new opportunities for this remarkable workforce in the area as well as the students who will soon be joining the workforce. And it represents the commitment that Panasonic and Kansas share to building a more sustainable future. That all starts with this first beam,” Swan said.

  • Allan Swan, Carl Walton, and Yoichi Shindo, Panasonic Energy; and Andy Heitmann, Turner-Yates. Photo provided by Panasonic Energy

The 2.7 million square foot facility will sit at the southwest corner of West 103rd Street and Dual Drive. In preparation for the new battery plant, the City of De Soto will invest up to $40million for water, sewer and road upgrades to support Panasonic and other future developments at Astra Enterprise Park.

Once the factory is complete, it will produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicle manufacturers Tesla and Lucid. Officials from Panasonic anticipate the new plant will be operational by the spring of 2025.