The video above is an interview with the Renault and Nissan (Renault has a 44.3% equity stake in Nissan) CEO, Carlos Ghosn by the Wall Street Journal. Ghosn says electric cars are 3-5 years away from "mass marketization," i.e that's when electric cars will make economic sense. The Wall Street Journal also has an article (or two) about Project Better Place+Renault's expected deal next Monday. Carlos has no comment on the deal but he does confirm the two are in talks about testing electric cars in "congested cities."
Red Herring also has an article about clean technology investment that includes Project Better Place. According to Red Herring, Project Better Place is in the top five clean technology companies that got funding in 2007. I think the $200m Red Herring and the Wall Street Journal uses may be a little low because Project Better may have received an additional $30m from Ofer Shipping Holdings in late December.
There are also fresh rumors that Tower Semiconductor, which is owned by Israel Corp., a Project Better Place investor, may have some kind of development deal. An interesting part to the Tower rumor is that Tower has a connection to the Chinese automaker Chery. How big is this deal? In the video above, Renault CEO Carlos says zero emission cars are in demand and can work in the cities, which represent 20 percent of cars sold.
Carlos says they don't make economic sense right now but cities like Israel plan major investment. If this is what leaked to the press, imagine what they have kept secret? I am looking forward to hearing more details about the connection to Chery and the plant. I don't want to be too optimistic but I expect at least one more city somewhere in the world (say China considering the Chery involvement) to be a part of the announcement ceremony Monday. Stay tuned.
- Israel Corp to invest $100m in new electric car
- Video of Project Better Place's battery exchange system
- Project Better Place working with Renault, to use fuel cells?
- BREAKING: Project Better Place's electric car debuts, deal with Renault confirmed
- First pictures and video of Project Better Place+Renault's electric car
- Rumors become expectations: Renault CEO to arrive in Israel for electric car project presentation