TOKYO -- Japan's automakers aim to lock in global leadership in electric vehicles by making Japanese recharging technology the world standard and bringing it to the United States.
A coalition of manufacturers that includes Nissan and Toyota is teaming with Japan's biggest electric company and the Japanese government to make it happen.
They aim to corner the market on one of the technologies that will be key to the eventual acceptance of electric-powered cars: the charging points that will become the equivalent of gasoline stations and enable drivers to recharge quickly and keep driving after their batteries run low.
"What we need to do is make this protocol a standard outside Japan," said Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the main utility backing the venture. The coalition, launched last week, is called CHAdeMo and has 158 partner companies.
The idea is to create a common charging protocol for fast-charging electric cars from various brands. Doing so would cut development costs and encourage the use of electric vehicles, proponents say.
Tokyo Electric Power developed the protocol with Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of the Subaru brand, four years ago, and it has become the standard inside Japan.
Nissan, Toyota, Fuji Heavy and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., all of which have either launched electric cars or plan to do so soon, use the same fast-charging technology and are part of the group.