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Oil Company Partners up to Develop Ultra-Compact EV Under $10,000

The tiny EV will be unveiled in October this year, and will hit showrooms as early as 2022.

Oil Company Partners up to Develop Ultra-Compact EV Under $10,000
Tajima Idemitsu EV TAJIMA-EV

Japanese oil company, Idemitsu Kosan, is moving into the EV market by developing an ultra-compact EV with local car manufacturer, Tajima Motor. Their vehicle is set to be unveiled later this year in October, and will be ready for sale in 2022 with starting prices at approximately $9,500, explained the two companies

The venture, which kicks off in April, will form a new company dubbed Idemitsu Tajima EV to start manufacturing EVs. The new company will also offer car-sharing services, and production will begin in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Idemitsu Tajima EV

Having oil refiner, Idemitsu Kosan, join the ranks of EV makers such as Tajima Motor marks the first time a non-automaker in Japan makes a move into the industry. It goes to show how seriously the nation's companies are taking the government's goal of going fully decarbonized by 2050, and ban the sale of new gasoline-run cars by the mid-2030s, Futurecar reported.

The venture's first mini EV will span 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long and 4.3 feet (1.5 meters) wide, and will accommodate up to four passengers. Just last year, Japan passed a law that allows such small autos to drive on public roads — something that will come in handy given the size of some Japanese roads and lanes. 

The EV's range will be approximately 75 miles (120 km), and its maximum speed will be 37 mph (60 km/h). 

Idemitsu developed the vehicle's high-performance plastic casing, drawing on its experience of working with petrochemicals. The EVs will run on lithium-ion batteries that Idemitsu Kosan will purchase from a third party. The batteries will be chargeable from regular household power outlets, and will require about eight hours to charge. 

To begin with, Idemitsu will sell the company's EV from its 6,400 nationwide gas stations, hoping to shift from providing petroleum to EVs.

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