Toyota has reached a deal to sell its electric vehicle (EV) technology to Chinese startup Singulato in exchange for green car credits introduced under a new quota system taking effect since earlier this year, Reuters reported.
Toyota will allow Singulato to use the design of eQ its battery EV model through licensing. Singulato, meanwhile, will redesign the car and come up with a model tailored to the local market by 2021.
The deal will also entitle the Japanese automaker to preferential rights to purchase green-car credits, a system introduced in January stipulating that a certain portion of a carmaker’s production or imports in China must be electric or hybrid.
“This deal gives us a way to save on time and costs to develop a reliable car and focus on what we excel in,” said Singulato Chief Executive Shen Haiyin in an interview with Reuters.
The original version of eQ was a failure with only about 100 cars sold in 2012 before it got pulled off from the market. But Singualato believes it could make it a potential success by making it more affordable with a longer driving range.
Singulato plans to sell 200,000 units of its own version, to be named iC3, over five years. According to Shen, iC3 would be priced around USD 15,000 and could go as far as 250-300 km on a single full charge.
But Singulato’s ambitious plan of adapting Toyota’s eQ to the Chinese market still very much hangs in the balance – Chinese media reported last December that the company was facing huge financial difficulties and failed to pay wages on time.