Toyota iQ city car reborn as China-only Singulato iC3 EV

The Toyota iQ city car has been reborn in China, with the rising Singulato firm using it as the basis for a new electric-only iC3 machine that has been launched at the Shanghai motor show.

Beijing-based Singulato was founded in 2014 as an EV-only firm, and is gearing up to launch a mid-size iS6 SUV later this year. It has agreed a deal with Toyota to use the eQ, a limited-run electric version of the iQ that was sold in the US and Japan, as the basis for its iC3 city car. Singulato has pitched its car as an “urban dream cruiser”. 

Besides switching from combustion engines to an EV powertrain, the iC3 is built entirely with iQ parts, including the chassis, brakes, steering and suspension. It also features some mild exterior design tweaks, and a new, bespoke infotainment system.

Singulato has developed its own electric powertrain for the new model. While it has yet to reveal full technical details, it claims it will offer a range of around 186 miles on the NEDC test cycle. It is understood Singulato is aiming to sell the car in China for about £11,500.

A Singulato spokesperson told Autocar that it bought the iQ design from Toyota for a “nominal cost”, as part of a wider agreement between the two firms. Reuters has reported that Toyota will be given preferential rights to purchase Chinese ‘green car credits’ from Singulato, which will help it meet government quotas in the country.

Toyota recently announced it was offering rights-free access to around 24,000 patents, including those for electrified technology, and has been looking for partners to further its electrification and expansion plans.

The iQ was revealed at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show and went on sale the following year. It was axed in 2015 due to slow sales.

As well as the electric eQ version – sold in the US as the Scion iQ EV – Toyota developed a limited-run performance version tuned by Gazoo Racing.

The iQ was also used as the basis for the short-lived Aston Martin Cygnet city car, which was produced from 2009 until 2013.