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Panasonic Energy Progress at KC Area Facility

by Mary Rooney | Oct 03, 2023

Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., a Panasonic Group company, announced senior leadership for its new lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in De Soto, Kansas. These experienced professionals will play a vital role in accelerating production to meet surging domestic electric vehicle battery demand. 

The De Soto Panasonic EV battery facility’s senior leadership will fill key roles across various departments, including operations, quality control, human resources, and research and development. These leaders bring a diverse set of skills and wealth of experience essential for the development of the facility and future employees.

The new leadership of the De Soto Panasonic EV battery factory are: 

  • Allan Swan, PENA President, Leader of Project Kansas
  • Koya Takahashi, SVP, Leader of Project Kansas
  • Masafumi Sonoda, SVP of Operations
  • Thomas Fickett, Chief Financial Officer
  • Eduardo Campos, VP of Quality
  • Innocent Chikunya, VP of Operations
  • Justin Herman, VP & Chief Information Officer
  • Hidetoshi Kaneko, VP of Supply Chain
  • Walt Miller, VP of Operational Excellence
  • Kristen Walters, VP of Human Resources
  • Carl Walton, VP of Strategic Initiatives & Facilities
  • Robert Winans, VP of Supply Chain

Panasonic Energy broke ground in De Soto in November 2022, and in April of 2023, construction progressed to “going vertical” as the first steel beams were erected. The facility in De Soto will be the company’s second EV battery facility in the U.S., following the PENA battery manufacturing operation in Sparks, Nevada. 

Initially, the new manufacturing facility in Kansas will expand the existing production of Panasonic’s 2,170 EV batteries, which are currently in high demand from customers. Launching the facility with this existing inventory ensures Panasonic can begin fulfilling customer orders quickly. Mass production is targeted to begin by the end of March 2025, with the initial production capacity of the new facility expected to be 30 GWh. In a phased approach, the company plans to continue strengthening its lineup of EV batteries and expand its production capacity in North America.

In addition, Flint Commerce Center in De Soto, Kansas, has started construction and Panasonic Energy will be the first warehouse tenant in the industrial complex, which is expected to be completed by Summer 2024. 

This project creates new jobs with competitive wages and will help drive economic growth and manufacturing advancement in the De Soto region and across Kansas and the United States, while also supporting the Panasonic Group’s commitment to reducing global carbon emissions by promoting transportation electrification.

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