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Kansas City is at the Center of the Electric Revolution

by Laura Patriquin | Apr 12, 2023
The KC region leads the charge in the electrification industry, attracting investment from major brands, including Panasonic Energy

Kansas City, Mo.April 12, 2023KC SmartPort hosted its annual industry briefing today, focused on the Kansas City region’s momentum as a leader in the field of electrification. The event featured Panasonic and Burns & McDonnell leadership, who shared their insights on the electric vehicle (EV) industry and its impact on infrastructure, global supply chains and industrial development.

With the rising demand for electric vehicles, the global EV battery market continues to grow, with an estimated value of $56.4 billion in 2022 and an expected value of $134.6 billion by 2027. In North America, the electric vehicle battery manufacturing capacity in 2030 is projected to be nearly 20 times greater than in 2021.

Kansas City’s robust infrastructure, ideal location and skilled workforce make it a leading location as the world moves into the next phase of electrification. The selection of the region by Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., for its estimated $4 billion EV battery manufacturing facility in 2022, solidified the region as an electrification hub.

“The new facility will increase our global capacity by 60% and provide much-needed capacity to the American EV battery supply chain,” said Ajay Gnanasekaran, director of strategy and program management with Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd. “We're excited to join the Kansas community and make the area a key driver for the EV industry, while expanding production of lithium-ion batteries to automakers across the U.S. and supporting more sustainable transportation options for consumers.”

Electric vehicle innovation finds a solid foundation in Kansas City, as the region’s transportation manufacturing industry is valued at $19 billion and produces more than 650,000 vehicles each year. The region also offers companies a variety of distribution-related advantages, including abundant access to multi-modal transportation and 85% of the U.S. accessible in two days or less by road.

“It is an exciting time to be in the electricity business — and at Burns & McDonnell — as the share of renewable energy on the grid grows at a quickening pace and the power generation industry innovates and changes in ways that we probably haven’t seen in 100 years,” said Chris Ruckman, vice president, energy storage, at Burns & McDonnell. “There is no disputing the importance of renewable energy in our future, and with some of the best engineering, architecture, and construction talent in the world in Kansas City, I think our city’s best days are still ahead.”

“Kansas City is a leading market globally to move the electric revolution forward,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort. “As a centralized inland logistics port, our region has the location and resources to support global enterprise and ancillary suppliers as they expand and innovate in the EV space. ”

In addition to the Panasonic megaproject, the Kansas City region has attracted a significant number of globally-recognized brands in the past several years, including Meta, URBN, Chick-fil-A Supply, Amazon Air and Walgreens.

About KC SmartPort:
KC SmartPort, an affiliate of the Kansas City Area Development Council, is the authority on logistics opportunities in the Kansas City region. As KC’s regional economic development organization that attracts industrial into the market, KC SmartPort has helped bring more than 8,000 jobs, $309 million in payroll and $2.1 billion capital investment totaling 18.4 million square feet to the KC region in the last five years.

Serving the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area, the Kansas City Area Development Council promotes the region’s business and lifestyle assets to companies and talent around the world. Working closely with its two states, and 50-plus county and community partners, the region has attracted more than 64,000 new jobs over its 45-year history. KCADC also leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, TeamKC, KC Heartland and KC Global Design.

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