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Toyota starts the ball rolling on electric vehicle alliance

The green-car pioneer finds itself playing catch-up to nimbler rivals

Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda, left, shakes hands with Masamichi Kogai, his counterpart at Mazda Motor, in a news conference in August.

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor has taken a step toward creating a broad coalition of automakers and autoparts makers to supercharge the development of electric vehicle technologies and make up for its slow start in the field.

Toyota, Mazda Motor and autoparts leader Denso have jointly established EV C.A Spirit to promote the development of electric vehicles, the companies announced Thursday. Toyota has taken a 90% stake with Mazda and Denso splitting the rest. The venture is starting out with nearly 40 engineers charged with creating design methods that will become the foundation for electric vehicle development.

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