Carlos Ghosn is not backing down.

Giving the keynote speech at the 2012 New York Auto Show today, the president and CEO of Nissan said that he stands behind his prediction that EVs will make up 10 percent of the market by 2020 in the places they are available. He also said that he expects Nissan to sell 1.5 million zero emission cars by 2016.

Ghosh brushed off a question about somewhat slow Leaf sales by pointing out that the Leaf is still constrained by supply, given the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year as well as the strong yen. Leaf production in the UK and U.S. that will start in the near future (later this year for Tennessee, early 2013 for Sunderland) will make the car more available to more people. "I don't want you to take a one-month or two-month sales result in one particular market to try to make your opinion about the evolution of a very important technology for the industry," he said. "I think the electric car will hold its promises. All the stars are lining up to make it a very important segment. ... I am not at all changing my bullish approach."

Ghosn has reason to be bullish. Nissan has sold 27,000 Leafs worldwide since introducing the car in late 2010, and 11,000 of those sales were in the U.S. And, he added, "The Nissan Leaf has had no quality problems."

Looking forward, Ghosn also said that the challenge is to reduce the cost, size and weight of the battery and "we have to do it fast" because government incentives will not last forever. Luckily, the industry has changed enough in the last half-decade to make this possible. He said:

One of the biggest evolutions we are seeing in our industry is the battery. As you know, when we started our electric car goals, it was in 2006, there were not a lot of battery makers in the world. Fortunately, with our drive and with the drive of other carmakers, the number of battery makers and companies investing in batteries has really been impressive. Today, you can find very good batteries, extremely competitive, in Korea, in Japan, in the United States. The Chinese are investing in batteries. ... The life of the battery is going to be longer than the life of the car.



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  • 18 Comments
      Bob Wallace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Folks might be interested to hear what Fred Smith, CEO of FedEX had to say a couple of days ago about the future of electric vehicles... "I think in three or four years you will have a battery vehicle with a range that's probably double what it has today — a couple of hundred miles versus a hundred miles — and it'll probably be 25 percent to 40 percent cheaper than [it] currently is." Smith says he believes that six years from now, electric vehicles will be in wide commercial use, transporting everything from FedEx packages to plumbers and pizza. "An all-electric pickup and delivery van will operate at a 75 percent less per-mile cost than an internal combustion engine variant," he says. "Now, I didn't say 7 1/2 percent — [I said] 75 percent. These are big numbers." http://www.npr.org/2012/04/02/149703488/oil-scare-turns-fedex-onto-energy-efficiency Fred's got no cars to sell. He's looking for ways to cut his costs. He's a big enough of a player to be allowed to look behind the curtain where you and I don't get to peek. A 200 mile range Nissan Leaf selling for $21,120 to $26,400. That would be a very attractive showroom option for a lot of US drivers. We should have 18,000 rapid charge points installed by the end of this year. Using a Level 3 charger you can drive more than 500 miles in a day with only two ~20 minute breaks for a recharge. The Leaf costs $0.028/mile when charged with $0.08/kWh electricity. That's the equivalent of driving a 50MPG gasmobile on $1.40/gallon gas. 200 mile range and only a few thou more than a gasmobile to purchase - get there and the only reason EVs will be no more than 10% of 2020 sales is because they won't be able to make them fast enough.
      Maddoxx
      • 2 Years Ago
      The leaf has good quality an design it is lacking in styling hopefully Infinit's EV sedan concept debuting at the NY Intl Autoshow this week will be a good looking ride
      AP1_S2K
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ghosh, Ghosn is not backing down
      aviboy97
      • 2 Years Ago
      I highly doubt 10% of all passenger automobiles will be electric by 2020. I'm still waiting for someone to build an electric car that can can be used for a family. The Leaf and Volt are pretty small cars.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aviboy97
        [blocked]
        Maddoxx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aviboy97
        10% where available with rising gas prices and CAFE standards this shouldn't be too far off. Tesla is building the models X so your wait may be ending in a couple years
      carboy55
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wouldn't argue with or doubt a man that has his overall record for financial success. For every small misstep Nissan has made, it's made several giant leaps forward. What other car company has done as well? Nothing in the US or Japan, anyway.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carboy55
        [blocked]
      J
      • 2 Years Ago
      "The life of the battery is going to be longer than the life of the car." - which should just give potential buyers the warm and fuzzies about the durability of these vehicles, I'm sure.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @J
        [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        mycommentemail
        • 2 Years Ago
        Hmmm... the question is: Is Ghosn retarded? This question being asked because: "In other words, Nissan *could* build the cars for the US, but chooses not to, because it's not profitable enough? " Then we take a few seconds to read the article and see the following: "Leaf production in the UK and U.S. that will start in the near future (later this year for Tennessee, early 2013 for Sunderland)" Makes me wonder who is retarded here.
        Tango Down
        • 2 Years Ago
        The Leaf plant in Tennessee is under construction so I guess they did choose to build it in the US.
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      Autoblogist
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ghost has to be bullish electrics, he bet a substantial amount of the farm on the Leaf. It looks like people are still having range anxiety. The Volt had its best month so far more than doubling last months's sales at 2k+ sales, while the Leaf managed a quarter of that at about 600 sales.
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