Nissan Motor is reported to be talking with Japanese electronics company NEC about establishing a joint venture that would make lithium ion batteries for use in hybrid and fuel cell cars.

The move would be a key part of the automaker's strategy to develop hybrid technology in an effort to catch up with Toyota which has taken the lead in the business, an Associated Press report noted.

The proposed partnership would involve development, manufacturing and sales of batteries, the automaker reportedly said.

AP also noted that, when Nissan unveiled a technology development roadmap on 11 December, it outlined plans to roll out petrol-electric powered vehicles built using its own system in North America and Japan in the fiscal year ending March 2011.

It already plans to offer a hybrid version of its Altima sedan in the US from January but with Toyota's technology, AP added.

According to the news agency, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported that Nissan and NEC plan to build a lithium ion battery factory by 2010, investing more than JPY10bn in the project.