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Toyota goes battery mad

Tokyo-based car makers Toyota are to mass-produce lithium ion batteries from the autumn for all its plug-in hybrid vehicles, according to a report in the Nikkei Business Daily.

The manufacturer’s first-ever production lines for lithium ion batteries are expected to cost 10 billion yen ($120 million), the report said.

Toyota plans to make 100,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles a year, to be sold in Japan, the United States and Europe from the start of 2012, the paper said.

Lithium ion batteries are commonly seen as the most suitable type for eco-cars, but as they typically account for half the cost of the vehicle, they are not always used. Manufacturing them in-house should give Toyota more control over performance and costs.

But Toyota are not the only ones thinking in-house is where it’s at. Hitachi, which supplies the batteries for General Motors Co. hybrids, are to begin mass production of lithium ion batteries for plug-in hybrids in 2013, according to the report.

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