Nissan boss reaffirms commitment to electric cars

Nissan and Renault boss Carlos Ghosn has reiterated his expectation that electric car sales will boom eventually, despite sales not meeting expectations to date.

Ghosn has ensured both firms have invested heavily in electric car technology, launching the Nissan Leaf in 2010 and then other vehicles including the Renault Zoe, Renault Fluence and Renault Twizy.
Although the Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car to date, only a comparatively minor 130,000 vehicles have been sold since launch. That had led to speculation that Nissan and Renault could scale back its committment to electric cars.

‘I remain confident in this technology,’ said Ghosn. ‘Zero emissions is a tunnel which we must all go down to meet upcoming legislation - it is inevitable. No, our initial objectives for sales will not be met, but we see massive growth in China and the US, and Europe will follow. We are getting there.’

However, Ghosn admitted that all manufacturers were being forced to invest in different alternative powertrain technologies in order to meet customer demand. As a result, plug-in hybrid Nissans and Renaults are likely to become more common, while hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are likely to be tested.

Ghosn also admitted that he was trying to keep options open on the best way to proceed with battery technology. Nissan has invested heavily in its own battery research and production plants, while Renault has sought outside partners to work with. ‘There is no fixed way to go, so we will watch how battery technology develops with interest,’ said Ghosn. ‘At the moment, we are content to work in both directions.’

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