• The Associated Press

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Electronics maker Hitachi Ltd. said Thursday it will supply lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles to General Motors Corp. in 2010 and sharply raise production capacity to meet surging demand for gas-electric cars.

Hitachi currently makes 40,000 lithium-ion batteries per month and will lift the capacity to 3 million units.

“We plan to boost our production capacity for lithium-ion batteries as we expect demand for hybrid vehicles will continue to grow worldwide,” said Hitachi spokesman Shinya Yamada. He declined to say when Hitachi would lift the capacity.

The Nikkei business daily said Thursday that Hitachi would invest around ¥30 billion to raise production capacity. But Yamada declined to confirm the report.

Hitachi will also start supplying lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars to GM next year, the company spokesman said without elaborating further.

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