Panasonic recently received regulatory approval of its massive $4.6 billion plan to purchase leading battery maker Sanyo Electric Co.  Upon news of the approval of the plan, the company almost immediately began talks with at least 10 automakers.  The talks center around the company supplying lithium-ion batteries for upcoming hybrid and electric vehicles.

As Panasonic's president of the battery division Naoto Noguchi said, "Panasonic Corp. is in discussions with some 10 automakers to supply lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicle."

According to the company, discussions with automakers include companies from India, Europe, Japan, and the U.S.  The companies future outlook is bright.  According to Panasonic, they plan to invest $1.4 billion to triple their li-ion output by late 2011 and they believe that the automotive battery field will grow to five times its current size by 2018.

Noguchi commented on the supply and demand of li-ion technology by stating, ""If demand continues to grow, we have concerns that production capacity might be insufficient, an increase in Japanese electric cars could make supply an issue by as early as 2012."

Panasonic received approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last week, allowing the deal with Sanyo to proceed.  The company received full antitrust clearance in 11 countries.  The deal between Panasonic and Sanyo could make Panasonic the largest battery producer in the world.