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Nissan Motor Co. said today that it will build advanced battery-making plants in Britain and Portugal to power its future electric cars.

Nissan and France’s Renault SA, its controlling shareholder and alliance partner, are developing zero-emission electric cars and hope to start selling them in small numbers next year.

The British and Portuguese governments have offered financial assistance and other support for the plants, which will make lithium-ion batteries.

Nissan will build the British battery plant in Sunderland in northeast England, where the Japanese automaker already operates an assembly plant.

Sunderland was recently designated a Low Carbon Economic Area by the British government, which plans to establish a training center, specializing in low carbon auto technologies, a technology park and an open-access test track for clean vehicles.

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