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Tokyo (AFP) — Japanese electronics giant Panasonic and U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors said Thursday they will jointly build and operate a huge lithium ion battery plant known as the Gigafactory.

Under the deal, Tesla will run the operations at the proposed U.S.-based plant, while its Japanese partner will make battery cells destined for the plant and invest in equipment and machinery, according to a joint statement.

The companies did not disclose financial details, a location, or other terms of the agreement.

Japanese media previously reported that Panasonic would invest as much as 30 billion yen ($290 million) in the multi-billion-dollar plant.

The pair said the large-scale plant should drive down the cost of batteries and eventually help popularize electric vehicles.

The Gigafactory will produce battery cells, modules, and packs for Tesla’s electric vehicles.

Some 6,500 people are expected to work at the facility.

“The Gigafactory is being created to enable a continuous reduction in the cost of long range battery packs in parallel with manufacturing at the volumes required to enable Tesla to meet its goal of advancing mass market electric vehicles,” the joint statement said.

AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan

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