Sat Jul 19 06:08:56 UTC 2008
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co and other Japanese companies will work together to set up common standards for lithium-ion batteries being developed to power next-generation cars, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.
Under the lead of an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, nine car and motorcycle makers, six battery makers and utility Tokyo Electric Power Co will come up with a draft of the standards covering testing and charging methods, vehicle safety and other areas.
The group aims to pitch its specifications to the International Organization for Standardization with the goal of creating a global standard for lithium-ion batteries, the paper said.
Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in laptop computers and mobile phones today, are seen as a key component to improve the performance of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars.
Creating a common standard would help the companies cut development costs and gain an edge over overseas rivals.
Carmakers Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp each have a joint venture to develop and produce lithium-ion batteries for car use with Matsushita Electric, the NEC Corp group and GS Yuasa Corp, respectively.
Major automakers, including Detroit's General Motors Corp, are in a tight race to bring fuel-efficient, zero-emissions electric vehicles to market as consumers increasingly shun record-high fuel prices.
GM, which is heavily promoting the upcoming Chevrolet Volt electric car, is set to announce next week a partnership with U.S. utilities to prepare for the widespread sale of plug-in electric cars, people familiar with the plans have said.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)