Electric super sedan from Japan could find itself staring down Tesla

Raise your hand if you didn’t see this one coming. Yep, I count myself in this group. Who would’ve expected a startup Japanese auto brand founded by a former Sony CEO to make serious waves at the 2016 Paris Motor Show? Expecting the unexpected is one of the best things about auto shows and all of us were clearly thrown in for a loop when Green Lord Motors – who? – stopped by Paris to unveil its first creation, the G4 Electric Super Sedan.

For those who don’t know too much about GLM, the company was founded by ex Sony boss Nobuyuki Idei and it has been hailed as the “Japanese Tesla,” a claim that might be described as a little premature given that the company has yet to make anything remotely close to what the real Tesla has done. But Paris is where the GLM stakes its claim, and it’s first offering, the G4 Electric Super Sedan, is a promising start towards getting more recognition.

Basically, the G4 is being touted a four-door electric supercar. It certainly has the look of one, which can be partly attributed to Dutch automaker Savage Rivale, which had a hand in designing and building the G4. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that the G4 draws some striking similarities to Savage Rivale Roadyacht GTS, right down to the “blooming flower” doors. In fact, the only physical difference between the G4 and the Roadyacht GTS is the latter’s rear door actually folds itself to turn the car into a four-door GT convertible.

The two cars do have different powertrains. Thanks to some assistance from former Toyota and Nissan engineers, GLM was able to install the G4 electric supercar with electric motors split between the front and rear axles, providing a total output of 540 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to propel the car from 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds to go with a range of 248 miles, putting it as close as possible to the 250-mile range of the Tesla Model S 90D.

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Plenty of promise, but questions on follow through

GLM G4 Is The "Japanese Tesla" We Never Saw Coming High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The car looks great and the numbers look impressive. Suffice to say, there’s a lot to like about the GLM G4 electric supercar, save for the reality that designing a prototype is a whole different ball game than actually building the car. On that note, I’m holding off judgment on the GLM G4 until more details about the car are unveiled.

That’s where the challenge lies for GLM. A big part of building a startup is to have people around you that know what they’re doing. In some ways, GLM already has that covered as it received help from a lot of people to get the G4 off the ground. But there’s also that part about having the money to actually transition the car from concept to reality. That’s where GLM has to prove itself. It has to show that it has the necessary funds to build the G4 into the “Tesla fighter” people say it has the potential to be.

I’m hopeful, but I’m not going to get too excited until that happens. We’ve seen plenty of startups get derailed for one reason or another, including not having the money to sustain the business to where the company wants it to go. I don’t want GLM to fall into that category because the G4 has a lot of promise. But as is the case in times like this, don’t count the chickens before they hatch.

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S here.

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