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Kyoto electric car startup to rent core components for parts testing

GLM partners with leasing group Orix to expand business scope

GLM has developed an electric vehicle platform parts makers can use to run tests. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- Japanese electric car startup GLM will rent out core components to aid in developing parts, making it easier for newcomers to enter the auto industry.

The Kyoto University-spawned company's platform will feature a chassis, a powertrain and control equipment. Leasing group Orix will make it available via unit Orix Rentec. The cost under a five-year lease, for instance, would run to 143,000 yen ($1,290) a month.

Companies looking to produce parts and take advantage of the nascent electric car boom are expected to use the platform for research and development. Businesses will be able to test their products without retrofitting them onto electric vehicles they purchase themselves, keeping the platform only as long as necessary.

The barriers to entering the auto industry are normally high. An engine alone contains many thousands of parts that must work in perfect harmony. And electric vehicles differ in important ways from conventional autos. They keep the passenger compartment warm with electricity rather than engine heat, for example. Lightweight construction is also key to extending an electric car's driving range.

Orix Rentec leases out inspection equipment to gauge vehicle performance, with the business receiving just over 10 orders a month. With GLM's platform, the partners aim to double this to more than 20 within a year.

The electric vehicle venture aims to start production of its own car, the four-seat G4, in 2019. GLM will target markets such as Japan, Europe, China and the Middle East, beginning where it obtains permission 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.

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