Earlier this week, a report from Germany claimed that Audi was interested in buying an electric vehicle platform from a Chinese carmaker amid delays to the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) developed by parent company Volkswagen Group.

As odd as that may sound coming from a company that has the industrial might of a conglomerate like VW behind it, Audi is reportedly close to signing an agreement with China's state-owned SAIC Motor for the rights to use one of its modular EV platforms, Autocar reports.

The EV architecture launched two years ago supports both rear- and all-wheel drive, and is currently utilised by SAIC's upmarket brand IM Motor for the L7 saloon and LS7 SUV. Audi is said to plan using it for a series of upcoming EVs following delays to VW Group's SSP platform.

While the names of the future models that Audi plans to build on the IM Motor platform remain unknown, insiders suggest the production versions of the automaker's Activesphere, Urbansphere, Skysphere, and Grandsphere concepts could be suitable for it.

Autocar has been told that the Volkswagen Group's existing MEB, J1, and soon-to-be-launched Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architectures have been deemed unsuitable for these planned models from Audi.

We contacted Audi to learn if it is indeed negotiating with SAIC Motor and we'll update this story when we hear back.

IM Motor's EV platform shares key elements of its structure with the Nebula platform used by the MG, Roewe, and Rising brands, SAIC engineering sources said. According to previous information shared by SAIC, the Nebula platform is engineered to support both single- and dual-motor drivetrains with outputs ranging between 201 and 805 bhp.

It can accommodate batteries as long as 2,023 millimetres (79.6 inches) and support both 400-volt and 800-volt electric architectures. This platform can also accommodate vehicles with wheelbases ranging between 2,690 mm (105.9 in) and 3,100 mm (122 in).

The IM Motor L7 saloon, which was developed jointly by SAIC and UK-based Williams Engineering, features a dual-motor drivetrain that makes 536 bhp and 516 pound-feet of torque, which allows it accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds.

Priced from approximately $57,300 (approx. £43,800) in China, the model is offered with either a standard 93-kilowatt-hour battery or optional 118-kWh pack, with the latter said to offer up to 621 miles of range on China's CLTC test procedure.

SAIC Motor, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, and the Alibaba Group founded IM Motor in 2020 as a luxury car brand based in Shanghai.