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Sumitomo Chemical, Toray lifting output for electric-car batteries

Tesla is boosting production of its Model 3 electric vehicle.

TOKYO -- Sumitomo Chemical and other Japanese material manufacturers are boosting output of a material essential for lithium-ion batteries, looking to capitalize on the growth of the electric vehicle market.

Sumitomo Chemical is spending 20 billion yen ($195 million) to boost production capacity of separators, which prevent short circuits and fires in lithium-ion batteries. The aim is to produce 400 million sq. meters a year by the middle of 2018, a timetable that has been pushed up two years. The capacity would be up roughly four times the level at the start of this year.

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