Before electric cars could take off on their own, they will require two years of government support in developed markets, according to Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn. Renault has said that through its alliance with Nissan Motor Co., it will invest 4 billion euros ($5.58 billion) in electric vehicles.
Renault aims to launch four electric vehicles in 2011/2012 in an effort to become the first full-line manufacturer to market zero-emission vehicles accessible to the most number of people. Nissan is set on launching the Leaf electric hatchback in the US, Japan and selected western European markets this December.
At the World Economic Forum for the Middle East and North Africa in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Tuesday, Ghosn said, “These are mature markets where governments give incentives to consumers."
He said that two years of government support are necessary to “jump-start” these markets and then the products will be able to grow on their own and soon take off.
The world's leading automakers have pledged huge investments in electric vehicles but analysts estimate that they will only represent a fraction of the car market for many years to come.
The challenges lie in the fact that electric cars are typically more expensive than comparable conventionally powered vehicles and that infrastructure, including public battery-recharging points, is still in its infancy. [via autonews - sub. required]