File picture: Sam Mircovich / Reuters.

Tokyo - Toyota has terminated its tie-up with Tesla and stepped up efforts to develop electric vehicles by itself, a newspaper said on Saturday.

In 2010, the two companies agreed on a comprehensive cooperation that saw Toyota paying $50 million (R637m) to buy 3.15 percent of shares in the US electric carmaker.

Two years later they jointly developed SUVs with electric engines and sold some 2500 units in California and other markets.

But their joint development has since decreased and Toyota sold all the Tesla shares it held by December last year as part of its effort to "review destinations for investment," the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Toyota, meanwhile, has set up a joint team with its group companies to develop electric cars, it said. Immediate confirmation of the report was not available.

Toyota, long focusing on fuel-cell technology as its future green-car strategy, has sold the fuel-cell Mirai, which emits only water from its exhaust pipe.

However, a lack of hydrogen refuelling stations has been a major hurdle to bringing fuel-cell cars into the mainstream.

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