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After supplying batteries for the record-breaking Mira EV (pictured), Sanyo had little choice but to follow it up with something big. So that's just what they did. This time around, the project is more about future plans than 300-plus mile journeys, but the goal is still quite monumental. Sanyo will invest $2.1 billion to ramp up li-ion production for hybrid and electric vehicles in anticipation of reaching mass production levels by 2012.

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Sanyo is one of the biggest suppliers of nickel metal hydride batteries for hybrid vehicles, along with Panasonic EV energy. Currently, Sanyo's primary customers are Honda and Ford, but the company also has deals with Volkswagen and Audi for future products from Germany. Ford's ability to sell hybrid vehicles has, in part, been constrained by limited supplies of major components like transmissions and batteries. That situation may soon change, since Sanyo has decided to increase its production o

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