Japanese carmakers try to declare Li-ion batteries winner for electric vehicles

Toyota, Nissan and Matsushita have formed an alliance to attempt to create a worldwide standard for Li-ion batteries for automotive use. If they succeed in convincing the International Organization for Standardization that Li-ion batteries are the best way to charge the upcoming onslaught of commercial electric vehicles, the involved companies will certainly hold the advantage.

Don’t expect to see an easy road ahead for the consortium that overall includes the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, nine car and motorcycle makers, six battery makers and utility Tokyo Electric Power Co. Other manufacturers are betting on different technologies. For example, a notable omission from the group is Honda, which is exploring a hydrogen fuel-cell option.

Other companies are avoiding the debate completely. BG Automotive has plans to release a highway-ready electric vehicle by 2009, with customizable battery choices. And just when you thought the format wars were over.