Hitachi and Johnson Controls have announced a broad cooperation in the advanced energy storage business, including lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

The two companies plan to explore joint research and development, procurement, production, marketing and sales, they said. They will also consider jointly building a battery production plant.

The move comes as electronics companies accelerate moves to tie up with vehicle manufacturers. Hitachi's rival NEC Corp has aligned with Nissan Motor.

Hitachi, however, has decided not to work with a specific automaker as it aims to take a lead by teaming up with Johnson Controls, a battery maker, which supplies carmakers and aftermarket retailers worldwide.

The two companies also plan to cooperate in the area of storage batteries used in smart grids and a next-generation power transmission network utilising information technology.