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Feb 26 (Reuters) - Panasonic Corp is inviting a number of Japanese materials suppliers to join it in investing in a U.S. car battery plant it plans to build with Tesla Motors Inc, with investment expected to reach more than 100 billion yen ($979 million), the Nikkei reported.
The plant, expected to go on-stream in 2017, will bolster Panasonic's supply of lithium-ion batteries to the U.S. electric-car maker.
Tesla is widely expected to announce details this week about the factory, which will help ease a shortage of battery cells.
Tesla declined to comment on Tuesday. Panasonic, the carmaker's primary supplier of lithium-ion batteries, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The U.S. plant, which will handle everything from processing raw materials to assembly, will produce small, lightweight batteries for Tesla and may also supply Toyota Motor Corp and other automakers, the Nikkei said.