Japanese battery manufacturer GS Yuasa Corp today announced plans that would make it one of the largest suppliers of batteries for the automotive industry. Rising demand for fuel-efficient cars from both the public and private sectors is leading the industry to begin development of the infrastructure necessary to support the future of mass-production electric cars, and GS Yuasa wants to be at the front of the pack.

To take its place among the industry's battery-production leaders, GS Yuasa has announced that it will raise lithium-ion battery production by up to 500% in order to achieve this goal. The Japanese company is already in partnership with Mitsubishi Motors, who are planning on launching the i-MiEV electric car in Japan next year. While it remains uncertain whether the battery production would be exclusively for Mitsubishi, both companies are joint partners in the venture, reports Automotive News.

GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi are planning to spend 4 billion yen ($37 million) to build a facility capable of outputting 10,000 batteries a year, with a further 10 billion ($91 million) yen investment later on to increase output to 20,000 batteries annually by 2012.

The company is banking heavily on growing demand for electric vehicles, and it expects demand for batteries to double every year starting from next year - a forecast that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago but is now becoming more and more plausible as oil prices fluctuate and government regulations crack down on emissions.

Toyota is likewise planning on upping its production of nickel metal-hydride batteries, in its own joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Both Toyota and Mitsubishi are expecting similar growth in world demand for electric vehicles, but Toyota's already established Prius has proven to be popular amongst consumers while the i-MiEV (pictured) has yet to make a name for itself pending its launch.