The North American International Auto Show left us with relatively little noise from some of the high-profile battery companies this week. Electric vehicles made a big showing, as Ford (NYSE: F) unleashed the Focus Electric and Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA) gave us a peek inside the Model S. But a couple of notable battery makers were largely absent.

Ener1 (Nasdaq: HEV) made a quick appearance when Volvo showed off a crash-tested C30, showing at least a little progress in the company's highest-profile partnership. Still, it left me thinking that the electric market may be moving on without the assistance of Ener1 and A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE).

Auto manufacturers appear to be looking elsewhere for battery technology, and some vehicles already out or due out any day aren't using either company's products. The Focus Electric and GM (NYSE: GM) Chevy Volt are both using Compact Power, an LG Chem subsidiary, for battery packs. Toyota (NYSE: TM) is using Tesla's drivetrain for the new RAV4, and that partnership could add more vehicles in the future. Is this an intentional strategy, or are manufacturers finding that Ener1 and A123 aren't up to the task?

Maybe Ener1 and A123 Systems are just following Valence Technology's (Nasdaq: VLNC) lead by giving more attention to heavy-duty and industrial vehicles. Even if that's the case, it has to be at least a little concerning that the first high-profile electric vehicles to hit the market aren't using their batteries.

I like the focus on industrial vehicles and grid applications, but Ener1 and A123 Systems need volumes to pick up in a big way just to survive. Some of these electric vehicles set to launch this year would have helped their cause, and I'm seeing this as a big opportunity missed.

Interested in reading more about A123 Systems? Click here to add it to My Watchlist, and My Watchlist will find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

More Foolishness:

Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not own an electric car or any of the companies mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings, or follow his Motley Fool CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

General Motors is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Ford Motor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.