File picture: Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters.

Tokyo - Toyota on Thursday announced plans to team up with Mazda and parts maker Denso in a new joint venture to develop electric vehicles.

The move came as Toyota steps up efforts to develop clean technologies, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid systems that use both petrol and electricity as energy sources.

Joint research - sharing cost, engineers and knowledge - is necessary to meet increasingly stringent but varying environmental standards around the world, the three firms said in a joint statement.

"With (electric vehicles) yet to find widespread market acceptance, the huge investments and time required to cover all markets and vehicle segments is a pressing issue for individual automakers," the statement said.

Toyota will take a 90 percent stake in the venture, to be launched next month in the central city of Nagoya, near the carmaker's headquarters.

Toyota and Mazda agreed in August to a capital tie-up to facilitate joint development of electric vehicles.

Agence France-Presse