Sanyo Electric Co Ltd will invest up to 30 billion yen ($315 million) to build a lithium-ion battery plant in Japan, increasing its production capacity for those batteries six-fold, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

The new factory for lithium-ion batteries used in gas-electric hybrid cars will be built in Hyogo, western Japan and Sanyo plans to start operations by March 2011, the paper said.

When the plant becomes fully operational, Sanyo's total annual battery output could power more than 120,000 cars, it said.

($1=95.31 Yen)