Panasonic says Oklahoma no longer candidate for new battery plant

TOKYO (Reuters) -Panasonic Energy, a unit of Panasonic Holdings, said on Wednesday Oklahoma was no longer a candidate for a new electric vehicle battery plant in the United States.

The decision by the battery supplier to EV maker Tesla came after the company in April said it was considering building a plant in Oklahoma, its third in the United States.

Last year, the battery maker chose Kansas for its second plant in the United States over Oklahoma, after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly pushed the state legislature to approve an incentive package of up to $1 billion.

“After careful deliberations, we have made the decision not to move forward with developing the site,” Panasonic Energy said in a statement. “This decision will not impact our operations in Nevada or Kansas.”

“While we aren’t in any specific talks right now for a site, we appreciate working with Panasonic and we look forward to opportunities in the future to further our relationship,” Oklahoma Department of Commerce said in a statement.

When asked whether slowing EV demand impacted the company’s decision, Panasonic said it will continue to consider all possibilities for expanding its North America business.

Demand for electric vehicles have been pressured this year by high interest rates forcing Tesla to spark a price war to stoke sales.

The Tesla supplier said in October that production in Japan suffered from slowing uptake for high-end EVs in North America, whose buyers do not receive a tax credit as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

(Reporting by Mariko Katsumura, Daniel Leussink and Akash Sriram; Writing by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Arun Koyyur)