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Toyota, Panasonic teaming to standardize electric-car batteries

Participation by Honda, others could result in large consortium

Until now, Toyota has focused on spreading fuel cell vehicles in Japan.

NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor and electronics maker Panasonic are forming a tie-up to set key standards for batteries used in electric vehicles, a move that could help the Japanese auto industry catch up to foreign rivals.

The partners are negotiating final details and will unveil an agreement shortly. Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu Motor and capital partner Mazda Motor will likely be asked to sign on as well. Such other automakers as Honda Motor could also be invited to help craft battery standards, potentially turning the partnership into a major consortium for the development of electric-vehicle batteries.

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