Don't blame us, blame the infrastructure. That's what Renault-Nissan Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn essentially said when he explained why his two companies will miss their 2016 goal of having cumulatively sold 1.5 million electric vehicles, the Detroit Bureau reports, citing an interview Ghosn conducted with the Financial Times. Ghosn says that the lack of vehicle-recharging infrastructure pushed out by the US, European and Chinese governments has been more of a factor in the sales situation than the increased pricetag associated with plug-ins. He added that he expected German automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz to be Renault-Nissan's "main" competitors on the EV front, moving forward.

Still, Renault-Nissan's numbers are a pretty big miss. Renault-Nissan's cumulative EV sales by 2016 are likely to be closer to 500,000 than 1.5 million, with the latter number likely not to be reached until after 2020. Currently, Renault-Nissan's running total is about 120,000 EVs worldwide. In July, the Alliance said it had surpassed the 100,000-unit threshold for its electric vehicles, with about 70 percent of those vehicles being sold by Nissan. There are more coming, though. Earlier this month, Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi announced a collaboration to co-develop an electric vehicle based on the tiny "kei car" compact platform.

The marquee 1.5 million figure was reiterated as recently as late last month, when Nissan announced its Nissan Green Program 2016. Meanwhile, in 2009, Ghosn made headlines by predicting that EVs would account for 10 percent of the new-car market by 2020.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Michael Walsh
      • 1 Month Ago
      The car is fine. The car is actually great. With one teeny, tiny problem...the battery pack sucks eggs in warm to hot environments. Get the problems with premature pack degradation taken care of, whether by a new electrolyte formation or more robust structure; or (heaven forbid) by using active thermal management; THEN TAKE CARE OF YOUR EARLY ADOPTERS, so they aren't left swinging in the breeze, and the LEAF will do just fine!
        aatheus
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        I am in the second half of my two year Leaf lease. Give me active battery cooling in addition to battery heating. I will then buy rather than lease, and my next car will be another Leaf. Give me multiple battery pack capacity options and I will be even happier.
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        "warm to hot environments"? Noone has seen any problems with the Leaf battery pack farther north than Las Vegas. Literally only the hottest places on earth are a problem for the Leaf. This is hardly "warm to hot", but "most of the planet". Last I heard though, those customers have been getting taken care of, battery-wise. Nissan's extended their warranty to cover them.
      JP
      • 1 Month Ago
      Of course it's not the infrastructure, it's the car. Make it better looking, give it better aerodynamics, coupled with enough battery to break the 100 mile mark in almost all conditions, and you'll really have a winner. They'll get there eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later since the technology is already available.
      Jesse Gurr
      • 1 Month Ago
      That picture says to me in the Maxwell Smart voice: "Missed it by that much!"
      danfred411
      • 1 Month Ago
      The car was ugly, too heavy, poor aero, massively overpriced and slow. Many opportunities were missed that could have made that goal easy, Ghosn. One of many lessons should be never use japanese designers for a global car.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Month Ago
      @ Val Good grief, it's hard work with you St Elon followers isn't it ? Elon Musk and Tesla have both performed an astonishing feat in producing both the roadster and the models S, and no doubt will go on to achieve even greater things. But there are other EV manufacturers outside California ! Unlike most of Europe the US does have a far more extensive public charging system. Tesla had it's challenges, but also had massive federal government and state support, he also had the advantage of a virtually free factory. The difficulty for Carlos Ghosn, is that he doesn't own either Renault or Nissan, he has cobbled together an alliance of two very disparate cultures, both of whom were in financial trouble. In addition Ghosn and must contend with many executives and investors who don't share his passion or vision. Renault-Nissan produce a wide range of EV's including the brilliant Kangoo EV Van.
      Smoking_dude
      • 1 Month Ago
      Well at least nissan is quite successful with the leaf. and the 100.000 sold EVs is not bad either. Compared to the low numbers of the EV1 or the first renault electrique cars this is still an success. a hint for nissan. Install one or two chargers (chademo, combo) at every dealer and workplace. - they already have everything. parking space and electric power. and do not forget the leaf with the double capacity pack. make it an option and fill the gap to the 60 kwh model s. (i know apples and oranges, but still)
        aatheus
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        And make the dealers make their chargers available after hours! So many dealers turn their fast chargers off at 7pm when Service goes home.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Month Ago
      This prediction was made when we had $4-$5/gal gasoline... the oil companies wised up and dropped their prices because the threat started looking real.. Unfortunately, this is really bad for those companies that put tons of money into EVs.. But on the flip side, the ball is rolling towards electrification.. batteries and other EV components continue to improve, especially batteries :) The best lithium cell you could get back in 2008 was about 150whr/kg.. now the best ones in cars are in the 250whr/kg range. It's possible that we'll see 300-400whr/kg in the next 3-5 years.. can't stop this momentum ;)
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Month Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        @ 2 wheeled menace That's a very true observation, who could have prediction the current oil bonanza back in 2008-9 ? But, the oil companies didn't wise up and drop prices ! Rather they wised up and diverted resources into developing new discovery, extraction, exploitation and management technology, that created lower prices and guaranteed plentiful fossil fuel energy supply. I agree with you that battery and ESD technologies are still in their infancy as far as development, and EV manufacturers can expect rapid advances over the next decade.
          Ryan
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Marcopolo
          No, they started drilling everywhere they could to boost supply in the short term. It will just make the plunge off the oil cliff that much steeper when the easy/hard to get oil runs out.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Marcopolo
          ...so, the oil companies didn't wise up and drop prices, but they did.. Oil is still $100 per barrel, but it's a dollar per gallon less at the pump here in the USA.. I think that you can find a few quotes from the Saudis after 2008 about their strategy to combat these new cars that don't run on their product. What they've had to say has been pretty priceless and revealing.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ Ryan, Much of the increase in supply come from reviving old old fields and wells long since defunct. Some of the wells are no yielding greater returns that at their former peak. New fields are being discovered, because of new technologies that make the cost of discovery, and extraction far more economic, and environmentally safer. Technology has allowed for vast improvements in the management of fossil fuel resources, the possibility of "running out'' is growing very remote, certainly not within the next 150 years. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/05/what-if-we-never-run-out-of-oil/309294/
      Vlad
      • 1 Month Ago
      We don't need to pitch one man of courage and vision against another. They both did remarkable things we all benefit from.
      John Harlan
      • 1 Month Ago
      It's a good think if people, instead of just accepting what they read, actually think about the whole thing before they just accept it. Electric vehicles are pollution free and very inexpensive to drive. Maybe not. Hydro and wind power as well as solar, which are the renewable sources of electric power are being used to their capacity now. That tells me that additional electric power requirements will likely have to be produce by burning the so called "fossil fuel" in coal burning (or other carbon based fuel burning) power plants. I can't verify this, but I have been told that approximately 50% of the energy produced in power plants is lost in transmission resistance. At any rate we know that there is transmission loss. Does anyone actually think about where the electricity for these electric cars is coming from? The greenees are so euphoric about electric vehicles I doubt it! Question everything. Accept nothing unless you are sure it really makes sense. One thing that does make sense is it is cheaper to run an EV in an urban setting than a carbon fueled car, but I have to question whether it is more environmentally friendly.
        aatheus
        • 1 Month Ago
        @John Harlan
        Calling EVs zero pollution is incorrect, but their net pollution per mile driven is still less than the typical gas vehicle. Also consider that each gallon of gas needs 7-11 kWH of electricity to make and deliver it. I could have driven up to 30 miles on the electricity needed to get that gallon of gas into your car!
        Ryan
        • 1 Month Ago
        @John Harlan
        Not this stupid drivel again. The power comes from the solar panels on my roof. Not too much transmission line loses in the 50 ft between them and the garage. Why aren't you making your own power? Keep complaining and nothing will change... Oh, and look into your oil and how dirty it is to drill, refine, transport, and burn.
        gpmp
        • 1 Month Ago
        @John Harlan
        You doubt that "anyone actually think(s) about where the electricity for these electric cars is coming from" Yet it has been discussed over and over again on this blog and others like it. My electricity comes from my roof. During the day when there is an excess (and when there is higher grid demand) I bank it with my utility to draw on at night when there is an excess of electricity in the system. Do your homework
        Vlad
        • 1 Month Ago
        @John Harlan
        Solar and wind are being used to their _installed_ capacity. We are nowhere near limits on exploiting these resources. In fact, we just scratched the surface.
      Spec
      • 1 Month Ago
      Blame the infrastructure? No. Patience. The shale oil boom has stabilized gas prices and slowed interest. But there are still lots of people that want to to go electric. Keep refining the cars and work on cost reductions. The market is continuing to grow. Every EV that is sold becomes another goodwill ambassador. And every new PV solar owner thinks about how cool it would be to fuel their car from their roof.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Spec
        Infrastructure will always be available to blame. It is an externality that the auto industry will need to rely on for EVs. There will be more "blame the infrastructure" talk over the years. Just wait until all the 2015 promises get called.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          But you cannot discuss infrastructure supply like that.. while ignoring the demand side. Pharmacies that carried fuel at the turn of the 20th century could easily meet the demand for the relatively few horseless carriages of the day. They were slow and there were few paved roads to actually drive a whole lot of miles. EVs are trying to displace a system that is already established. Drivers are already used to driving 30+ miles everyday, occasional long distance trips, and many work vehicles need to be able to drive much further. So any infrastructure for EVs must compete with that status quo. While when automobiles first were introduced.. their capabilities were FAR different from that of horses... and thus, their infrastructure did not need to look anything like the horse feed economy. A charging infrastructure, luckily, can grow in parallel with EV ownership... but only up to a certain point.... since anyone with a plug at their parking space won't necessarily need public chargers. But there comes a point where public infrastructure is needed to meet loftier goals. A bigger concern is with vehicles which REQUIRE infrastructure to be built first, before any adoption is possible. There is no launching point that is reasonable.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          The people who spout that infrastructure fallacy forget history. People used to buy small containers of gasoline at the drug store and there was no such thing as a gas station or pipelines for a long time.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Spec
        @ Spec, Well said !
      chanonissan
      • 1 Month Ago
      they did not have Euro, and they did not have gasoline cars, but they had a loan from US government , that they are currently paying back,and daimler put in some cash, so do not put it as if telsa did not get any help.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Month Ago
      Carlos Ghosn may not attract the fanatical fan following of Tesla's Elon Musk, but history will record that he is the true pioneer of the modern mass produced EV. More importantly, Ghosn chose the most difficult path, trying to sell "affordable" EV's for the ordinary consumer. The fact that he did this while CEO of an almost unimaginable 'Alliance" display a measure of his vision, determination and diplomatic astuteness. The fact that Renault-Nissan shareholders have continued support for Carlos Ghosn, despite the obvious lack of return on an investment of over 12 billion Euro's, is an astonishing endorsement of his leadership and confidence in his vision. (It's also an endorsement of his ability to generate profits from the conventional side of the business). As Joeviocoe, wisely observes, " Shoot for the stars, land on the Moon ''. Ghosn has certainly done just that ! Not only has he sold 120,000 units Globally, but he has forced other car makers to invest in EV technology. I don't agree with his assessment that a lack of infrastructure, rather than a lack of range and a price premium, are the deciding factors in reducing EV adoption rates. But that doesn't lessen my respect for the man, whom I believe, had the courage and vision to make it all happen !
        Val
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Elon Musk didn't have 12 billion euros to invest in a mass market vehicle from the get go, neither did he have millions of gasoline vehicle sales to offset the initial high costs of EVs. Also, one thing he is NOT doing, is blaming governments for the lack of infrastructure. Instead, he is investing in infrastructure, so that his product becomes more desirable. Free charging is nice, anyway you look at it.
        roberto tomás
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Marcopolo
        who cares about Ghosn or Musk? I care about the cars, not eh people who make their millions off of them.
          Vlad
          • 1 Month Ago
          @roberto tomás
          From my Soviet experience, when people don't make millions off of cars, cars don't get made. At least not in sufficient quantity and of acceptable quality.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Month Ago
          @roberto tomás
          @ roberto tomás Many cars are named after their creators. It takes a lot to assemble sufficient capital, design engineering, supply lines, and marketing expertise to deliver a product in an extremely competitive, low profit, high risk industry. Leadership, makes a great deal of difference, especially when you're a pioneer !
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