The way Carlos Ghosn repeatedly touts the benefits of electric vehicles, you'd think he knows something the rest of the industry doesn't. For now, it appears he's right, since sales of the Nissan Leaf continue to be constrained by supply and not demand. What makes the Renault-Nissan CEO endlessly interesting is that he doesn't back off of his stance no matter what's happening in the world. The best response to the earthquake in Japan? EVs. A competitive automotive industry? EVs. Giving the customers what they want? You get the picture.

Speaking with Automotive News recently, Ghosn made it clear that his. Some interesting tidbits include that Ghosn doesn't expect U.S. production of the Leaf (in Smyrna, TN) will lower the price at all, it'll just help Nissan move toward what it wants, "which is a sustainable model without support from the government." He sees global demand for his companies' EVs to reach 500,000 a year globally by 2020. As he pushes forwards to that goal, he's also looking as hybrids (like the Altima hybrid) in the near term, saying Nissan will have "very significant" gas-electric market share by 2015, but one that "could be smaller than electric [market share]."


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  • 25 Comments
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Smart man & great capitalist. Sees a niche that others are unwilling to tackle and goes for it 100%. Nissan totally leapfrogged Toyota as far as green creds despite the car looking weirder. They can keep the same basic design+price and upgrade the battery tech to provide more range. Every conflict/war/revolution in the middle east will bring that goal ever closer.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      As heartening as it is to hear Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn's confidence in the future of EV's, will these sales predictions be enough to meet the consequences of Oil depletion? The Oil industry predicts a need for at least 30 million EV's to be on the road by 2030, (with a minimum of an additional 180 million hybrid or very high mpg ICE technology vehicles) if the Oil industry is to meet transport fuel supply requirements in 2030. If Ghosn's expectations are correct, it's a matter of some urgency that the other manufacturers invest in EV, or at least hybrid production or they will be producing vehicles without an adequate fuel supply. The Oil/Energy companies are not convinced that EV targets can be logistically met, and although they are investing colossal sums in electric/alternate energy technology, even larger sums are now being invested in the quest for the perfect bio-fuel feedstock. It seems incredible that 2030, is less than 19 years away!
        Elmo Biggins
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Where are your sources? If you're going to delivery news nobody else but you heard, you better back it up, not that I put much stock in what the oil industry says regarding EV sales targets to begin with.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        "The Oil industry predicts a need for at least 30 million EV's to be on the road by 2030" Uh . . . you have a source for that? The oil industry is not homogeneous. But the designated mouthpieces of the oil biz such as the API would never say something like that.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Never question Marco or PR On sources...
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @ Spec, You are correct, the Oil industry is not homogeneous at all. I tend to quote the speeches and articles published by the '6 Sisters' (and allied smaller oil companies) as the opinions of the Oil Industry, when in fact they are usually just the most rational and progressive. Publications such as Energy Industry News and other subscription based publications whose readership is aimed at heavyweights within the investment industry, contain in-depth analysis from corporations not generally available in the public domain. Nothing sinister, just the information is intended for a specialised audience. The 30 million quote is from a 2004 speech by the then CEO of BP, Lord John Browne. It has been referred to several times by Chevron's CEO when defending Chevron's huge shareholder investment in Geo-thermal. Shell have included similar findings in various publications on the future of oil depletion, as has Comoco-Phillips. (Total are too busy doubling Libya oil production!). The API has published extensively on Oil depletion and has often referred to a mix of energy solutions including EV's. I am currently travelling, read but upon my return will post the API articles for you. There are also some excellent books published by reputable researchers and scientists, within the oil industry or whose research is funded by oil money, who not only support oil depletion, but are backed by some very convincing modelling on future outcomes. Of course the oil industry has it share of buffoons and right-wing troglodytes, but it's unwise to discount the resources and research of an industry employing millions of people and contributing so much to the worlds economy, simply from ideological bias or unsubstantiated prejudice.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        "The Oil industry predicts a need for at least 30 million EV's to be on the road by 2030, (with a minimum of an additional 180 million hybrid or very high mpg ICE technology vehicles) if the Oil industry is to meet transport fuel supply requirements in 2030. " Interesting - why specify EVs? That makes no sense. 30 million CNG vehicles would have the same effect on the oil market. Or 30 million ethanol vehicles (I'm looking at you, Brazil).
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Nissan's projections are based on relatively modest oil price increases, or none at all. I believe at some time in the past I heard that this was for petrol at only around $3/gallon or so. Obviously if (when) oil goes through the roof this will be very much a low side estimate. The difficulties in rapidly ramping production and in particular in expanding the battery supply chain should not be underestimated though, and with my pessimistic take on the world economy I think that any large increase in EV share of the market from 10% of all new cars by 2020 is more likely to come about due to sharp falls in conventional car production rather than increases in EV build. Getting build up to around 7 million or so a year by 2020 is challenging enough, increasing it still further seems improbable to me, although of course when the Chinese decide to vigorously action a policy they move very fast indeed.
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you actually read the AN source interview, Ghosn is saying that there is demand for 500,000 vehicles now, with the goal for EV's in 2020 being 10% of the total market. There "is" demand for 500,000 vehicles, not there "will be in 2020." The goal is to satisfy demand in the short term of 500,000 for which there currently is demand, then work toward taking a portion of the 10% market projected for EV's in the long term. "Our objective is 10 percent of the market in 2020. So you have different profiles that we have identified which present even more than 10 percent. Ten percent of which one? Of the market. Ten percent of the U.S. market, 10 percent of the Chinese market, 10 percent of the Japanese market. Not now. We're talking about 2020. By 2020, you're going to have many brands offering electric cars. I know that people are skeptical. They say where is it going to come from, who is going to buy these cars, and it's too expensive and it depends on government. Except that we are selling every single car we are producing, and when we see the profile of the people: 55 years, 55 percent male, $130,000 average income in the United States. I think the market is here. There is a demand for 500,000 a year globally between Renault and Nissan. After this, it is going to depend on a lot of factors. Competition. Oil price. How much do you think is going to be the oil price three or five years down the road?"
        lne937s
        • 6 Months Ago
        @lne937s
        Also, regarding hybrids, quoting just "very significant" is quite different from "I don't think it's going to be very significant." "In three or four years, say by 2015, what percent of your sales could be hybrid? I'm unable to give you from the top of my mind how many, but I don't think it's going to be very significant. It could be smaller than electric." Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20111128/OEM02/311289943
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        Indeed. The continual miss-statements by ABG on the contents of their source material is both surprising and irritating. Several times in the past couple of weeks alone entirely unwarranted inferences have been drawn from them, with deeply misleading headlines. The writers are of course busy, but in a two minute read of the source before this article on ABG it was perfectly plain that the 500,000 intended production is not for 2020, but when the factories are completed.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      It all depends on the price of oil and the economy.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Sure, but then I could buy me a brand new 7-series, but would still rather buy the Leaf. America still has millions of middle class people who can afford this. Look at the iPhone...everybody is broke, but everybody has one (except me who uses a POS cell).
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      500 000 nissan electric car a year is possible in 2020 only if they switch to a solid-state battery or if they switch to a hydrogen battery (fuelcell) but with the actual lithium-ion battery they will sale way less.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Most probably, Ghosn is including all of the above in his EV numbers.
        goodoldgorr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        I SAID that im not on the market for a lithium-ion battery and i want a fuelcell or a solid-state battery, is it clear now ?
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      We understand your position. But you need to realize that other people don't agree. Tens of thousands have gone ahead and bought Li-Ion based EVs in the form of Teslas, Leafs, Volts, Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, etc. The sales have been limited but they have exceeded the early years of the Prius. And there have been no significant backlashes.
      Guillaume Séguin
      • 3 Years Ago
      If we have a look at the Prius story in a close article, we can see that in less than 15 years, Toyota is now reaching 400.000 annual sales with just one model. Renault-Nissan wants to reach 500.000, in a 9 year period, but with 2 brands and many more models as soon as next year. This is not a crazy announcement, really.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Guillaume Séguin
        That would be true if the article were correct, which it is not. Renault/Nissan aim to reach 550,000 EV's a year by 2015, in 4 years not 9.
      Elmo Biggins
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks to me like he's pretty clearly talking about 2020 as the timeline. Nowhere in the article does he even refer to 2015 except in discussing hybrids. --Our objective is 10 percent of the market in 2020. So you have different profiles that we have identified which present even more than 10 percent. Ten percent of which one? Of the market. Ten percent of the U.S. market, 10 percent of the Chinese market, 10 percent of the Japanese market. Not now. We're talking about 2020. By 2020, you're going to have many brands offering electric cars. I know that people are skeptical. They say where is it going to come from, who is going to buy these cars, and it's too expensive and it depends on government. Except that we are selling every single car we are producing, and when we see the profile of the people: 55 years, 55 percent male, $130,000 average income in the United States. I think the market is here. There is a demand for 500,000 a year globally between Renault and Nissan. After this, it is going to depend on a lot of factors. Competition. Oil price. How much do you think is going to be the oil price three or five years down the road? Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20111128/OEM02/311289943
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      This guy is putting more people out of ICE cars and into EVs than anyone before him. If there's anyone starting an EV resolution, it's him. Give Carlos Ghosn a prize.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick
        He certainly made a bold move in continuing with EV development after the collapse of the brief CARB fueled late 90's EV biz. Many predicted the Leaf would completely flop. It didn't. But the future remains unclear. They either need to get the EV price down or oil prices need to go up because it is not more than a niche market with the current prices.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      the world may also want EVs that weigh less, look better and priced much more reasonably
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      @Dave Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore your comment. The more progressive of the major Oil companies consider CNG,LPG,NAt gas as part of the oil reserve. ( Hydrogen is still being researched, but not considered a short term solution) Although, the three PRC giants,Brazilian and other small national oil companies, are heavily involved in manufacturing ethanol, the 'Five Sisters' consider the potential for expansion limited to those regions with a natural bio-fuel agricultural base. The Oil/Automotive/Agri corporations plan to invest mind bogglingly enormous sums in research to produce a bio feedstock that ticks all the boxes. This would be the Oil companies preferred option since it would integrate with their current business model. But, a feedstock break-through may be decades away, (if at all) and it's likely Oil Supply will come under pressure before such a break-through could be logistically effected.
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