Tokyo: Japan’s Toshiba said Friday it was working with Mitsubishi Motors to develop batteries for electric vehicles, as the race intensifies among automakers and technology giants to make emission-free cars.
Toshiba, which spans electronic components, appliances and nuclear power plants has developed a fast-charging long life lithium-ion battery called SCiB (Super Charge ion Battery), which it plans to adapt for cars.
The moves comes as the world’s automakers ramp up development of electric vehicles, promoting their zero exhaust emissions and betting that consumers will eventually shift from gas guzzlers to greener technologies.
Mitsubishi launched its MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) in Japan last year and is working with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen to launch a vehicle based on the technology in Europe.
Toshiba recently said it would build electric motors for a new Ford hybrid at its US plant.
The company, already building motors for bullet trains, elevators and machinery, is looking to expand its business ahead of rivals in anticipation of increased demand for electric vehicles.
Nissan, part-owned by Renault of France, will in December roll out its Leaf -- short for Leading Environmentally friendly, Affordable Family car.
Nissan plans to sell 50,000 EVs in the United States, Japan and Europe per year in 2011 and 2012 and then 500,000 units in 2013. It predicts that by 2020 electric cars will account for 10% of the global auto market.
Toyota, which has for more than a decade sold petrol-electric hybrids such as the Prius, has promised to launch its own electric car by 2012.
In May it bought a 50-million-dollar stake in Tesla Motors, a Palo Alto, California start-up that in 2004 began developing its Roadster, a boutique, “highway-ready” electric sports car with a range of about 245 miles (395 kilometres).