When asked why people aren't buying more electric vehicles, Ghosn said that there were a few factors working against EVs right now, but that, "I still think it's just a temporary slow down." He then listed the reasons why.
Ghosn started with the two-degree agreement that came out of COP21, the climate change conference in Paris last year. As the UN explained (PDF):
The goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century was first agreed to in Copenhagen and then by all countries at the Cancun Climate Conference in 2010. It recognizes that climate change is already occurring, but that if we act now, we can avoid the worst impacts of a changing climate.
So, with COP22, which will take place in Morocco this November, not that far away, it's time to get busy. Transportation makes up 17 percent of all CO2 emissions, Ghosn said, and "there is no way - no way - we're going to reach anything around two degrees without the substantial reduction in CO2 from the transportation system. And the only obvious, known technology which allows that is electrification."
To encourage more EV purchases, three things need to happen, in Ghosn's view. Governments need to provide more incentives (both to purchasers as well as to support infrastructure), the cost of building the darn things needs to come down, and people need to realize that climate change is real and happening.
"Obviously, there is already a lot of incentives in China, Norway, France, Japan and in the United States for electric cars, but it's going to get much bigger," he said. "That's why all the carmakers are coming with electric cars. And if they don't come with electric cars, they're coming with another technology, which is hydrogen fuel cells, which is basically also an electric car. So, if you want to see the COP22 [results], you've got to understand how much we're going to have to reduce the cost of the electric car. Governments, in order to encourage the industry to move in this direction, they're going to have to finally build the infrastructure. The main problem of electric cars is people complaining that there is no infrastructure.
"Governments, in order to encourage the [EV] industry, they're going to have to finally build the infrastructure."
"Today, nobody asks question about how much range you have in a car you buy, because there are gasoline stations all over the place. But if you go to a country where there is no gasoline station, well, you're going to be very, very careful when buying a car. We have the exact same situation today with electric cars. So, [until] development of the infrastructure, reducing the cost, and waiting until the emissions restrictions come to the table, and you're gonna see the size of the effort that we're going to have to do. For me, the only viable, existing technology that allows that is electrification and, particularly, electric cars. Fuel cells are another option, but if you think we have a problem with infrastructure of electric cars, imagine the hydrogen stations."