Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn still ‘bullish’ on projection for electric vehicles

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 9, 2012

Chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn at Nissan is "still bullish" about electric vehicles, he said to an industry audience last week before the New York Auto Show, where he introduced an Infiniti electric vehicle. He reiterated that the EVs will be 10% of the market in 2020 in every region where they are marketed.

All that reporters seem to want to ask the CEO is if he misjudged the market for the EVs. Despite the scanty sales in the United States and the latest delays at a small number of EV projects, Ghosn is still sticking to his vision of an auto industry where these types of cars will comprise 10% percent of worldwide automobile sales.

With technology problems and slow sales greatly deflating the optimism of industry about the electric cars, the Nissan CEO is almost an industry outlier on the topic.

It has been eight months since the launch of large-scale U.S. manufacturing of the electric Nissan Leaf sedan and its complex battery modules, but he is still sticking to his vision. Ghosn said he recognized the skeptics and challenges, and that he is used to them, according to Autonews.

He further stated that he believed the alliance of Nissan and Renault will sell around 1.5 million cumulative EVs by 2016. He also stated that he has ”zero doubt" that zero-emission is "here to stay" considering how much Leaf owners liked their vehicles and how early the company is in the sales curve of the new technology. 

However, there have been setbacks. Last month, General Motors halted production of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which had been afflicted by sluggish sales and large inventories. Also, U.S. battery maker A123 Systems Inc. was adversely affected by a recall of its batteries, which frightened possible buyers of EV.

Another issue is that Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has fretted publicly that Chrysler Group will lose at least $10,000 per automobile on the planned electric Fiat 500. Moreover, Fisker Automotive has struggled in its plan to create a plug-in hybrid family sedan, and the Department of Energy has suspended the startup's federal loan for the project.

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