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Renault, Nissan Form Battery Joint Venture

Partners Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. announced they are setting up a state-sponsored joint venture to make batteries for electric cars by 2012.

FLINS, France (AP) -- Partners Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday announced they are setting up a state-sponsored joint venture to make batteries for electric cars by 2012.

Carlos Ghosn, who heads both companies, is investing heavily in electric cars, forecasting that they will account for 10 percent of the global auto market by 2020.

About 100,000 batteries will be produced annually at the French site of Flins northwest of Paris for Renault's planned fleet of electric cars but also for commercial sale.

Investment costs are estimated at euro600 million. The French government will invest euro125 million through its strategic investment fund and the French Atomic Energy Commission will bring its expertise.

"Realizing the potential of zero emission mobility on a mass scale requires unique collaboration between public and private sectors," Ghosn said in a statement.

Renault also said that it has chosen Flins to produce its zero-emission city car, the Zoe. Production should start in 2012, the automaker said.

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