Japan's GLM aims to be 'the Ferrari of electric vehicles'
Planned luxury G4 model intended to propel company overseas
NATSUKO KATSUKI, Nikkei staff writer
OSAKA -- A high-performance luxury electric vehicle under development by Japanese automaker GLM will lead the company's charge into foreign markets.
"I would like to sell the G4 as a showcase of Japanese technology," GLM President Hiroyasu Koma said Tuesday.
The electric vehicle venture aims to begin production of the four-seat G4 model in 2019. The Kyoto University-spawned company will target markets such as Japan, Europe, China and the Middle East, beginning where it obtains permission for the vehicle to operate on public roads.
The G4 will have an electric battery pack and motors, running 400km on one charge. Yet the model also will sport 540 horsepower and achieve acceleration from zero to 100kph in 3.7 seconds.
GLM eyes sales of 1,000 units, with a price tag of 40 million yen ($368,000) -- on par with European and other luxury cars. The G4 will be the automaker's second model, following the Tommy Kaira ZZ electric sports car, which was sold only in Japan.
The automaker's aggressive pricing is deliberate, as the company aims to be "the Ferrari of electric vehicles," said Tomohisa Tanaka, a director at GLM.
"Luxury cars actually have little competition, so it is easier to target that market," said Koma.
GLM is teaming with parts manufacturers to install cutting-edge technologies in areas such as the motors, batteries and vehicle control unit. The G4's price range and limited production make it more feasible for developers to introduce new parts and demonstrate their technology. The automaker plans to work with companies, including those in Europe, to increase production as sales expand.
GLM still faces safety tests and other hurdles. But with Tesla temporarily overtaking General Motors on April 10 as the world's most valuable car company, growing expectations for electric vehicles are providing a tailwind for the Japanese venture as it looks to capitalize on the changes in the automotive industry.