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Starting this fall, Toyota will kick off mass production of lithium-ion batteries for its soon-to-be available plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Prius, the Nikkei business daily, a Japanese news outlet reported. By manufacturing li-ion batteries in-house, Toyota hopes to keep costs in check, allowing the automaker to competitively price its plug-in hybrids. A Toyota spokeswoman declined to verify the accuracy of the report.

Additionally, the Nikkei claims that Toyota's facility in Aichi Prefecture, Japan and a factory that the automaker operates jointly with Panasonic in Shizuoka Prefecture, will undergo renovations that will reportedly cost Toyota ten billion yen ($120 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) to ready both sites for mass production of lithium-ion batteries. Combined, the two factories are expected to crank out enough li-ion batteries to power nearly 100,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles per year. Toyota is expected to launch its plug-in hybrid Prius in Japan, the U.S. and Europe in early 2012.

Photos copyright ©2009 Frank Filipponio/ AOL

[Source: Reuters]

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