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Published: Saturday, 5/24/2008

Toyota, Matsushita build plant for hybrid batteries

Toyota Motor Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. plan to build a factory to make batteries used to power hybrid vehicles as record oil prices spur demand for fuel-efficient cars.

The companies will invest an additional $193 million in their Panasonic EV Energy Co. venture to build the factory, a Toyota spokesman said. The nickel-hydride battery plant will be built in Japan s Shizuoka Prefecture.

Toyota plans to sell 1 million hybrid cars, including the Prius, annually in the early part of next decade. It will eventually offer hybrid options on all models.

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