Toyota Motor has agreed to sell electric vehicle innovation to Singulato, its first deal with a Chinese electric vehicle startup, permitting the fledgling firm to accelerate the development of a planned mini EV.
In return, Toyota is going to have preferential rights to buy green-car credits that Singulato will generate under China’s new quota system for the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
It will be also able to view into how the Chinese EV startups operations and the strategies they pursue in a developing marketplace, stated Singulato Chief Executive Shen Haiyin and two sources at Toyota.
“With electrification, autonomous driving, and car-sharing shaking up the industry, old ways need to be re-evaluated,” one of the Toyota sources stated, refusing to be identified as he was not supposed to discuss the matter.
“We have a century’s lead in automotive technology, however, we also need to be humble enough to learn from newcomers.”
Singulato will get a license to utilize the design of Toyota’s eQ – a battery electric microcar. The deal is set to be announced on Tuesday at the Shanghai auto show, where Singulato will reveal a concept car based on the eQ.
Singulato prepares to remodify the car, tailoring it to regional tastes to come up with a model by early 2021 that is more affordable and provides a longer driving range.
“This deal gives us a way to save on time and expenses to develop a reliable car and focus on what we excel in,” Shen informed Reuters.
Financial terms are not expected to be revealed. A Singulato source stated the startup agreed to pay a few tens of millions of dollars for eQ’s design.
Toyota stated it was taking various measures to speed up its business in China, a significant market, but it would not discuss specific steps.
The agreement is a vote of confidence by Toyota in Singulato’s prospects, stated Shen. Founded in 2014 and backed by Intel and Itochu Corp, Singulato is among t least 50 Chinese EV startups seeking to survive in a competitive market.
It prepares to sell its first self-developed battery electric car named the iS6 this year, rivaling with models from competing startups such as Nio and WM Motor as well as those from worldwide automakers.