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Toyota and Panasonic eye joint development of new EV batteries

TOKYO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Corp and Toyota Motor Corp said on Wednesday they will consider jointly developing batteries for electric vehicles.

The move could help Panasonic extend its lead as the world's largest automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturer.

The announcement builds on an existing agreement under which Panasonic manufactures batteries for Toyota's gasoline hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Toyota said last year it was planning add fully electric vehicles to its product line-up - a strategic shift away from its previous position that it saw fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids as the most sensible technologies to make cars greener. (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)