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Panasonic Corp. is renovating a facility in Japan to start testing mass production of a new type of lithium-ion battery that’s championed by Tesla Inc. as the key to unlocking cheaper electric vehicles.

Panasonic will start prototype production of a next-generation 4680 battery early this year at a facility in Wakayama Prefecture, Chief Financial Officer Hirokazu Umeda said Wednesday at a briefing on the company’s quarterly financial results.

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