Q&A With Carlos Ghosn on the Future of Electric Cars
Very Bullish on Electric CarsAs was obvious in Revenge of the Electric Car (which you can now see for free on Hulu), Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault and Nissan, is both very bullish on electric cars and has the ability and determination to make it happen. I'd much rather have him on the side of EVs than on the side of the status quo...
Consumer Reports (What an amazing bunch! Get yourself a subscription) did a quick interview with Mr. Ghosn. Here are some highlights:
On prices for the LEAF coming down:
When we planned for the electric car, with the yen at $110 to the dollar in 2006, we couldn't imagine [a] 30-percent change in the value of the yen. At the moment, the yen at $82 to the dollar has been a real headwind to the sales of the car. [...] We are going to lower costs, particularly with the yen at 82 yen to the dollar. Lowering the cost by switching to a U.S. base is very easy when the Japanese base is as cost-ineffective as it is today. Consumers should see the benefit of this cost reduction. Now it's not automatic, it's not, the day you localize the price comes down. But you're going to have a trend toward the car becoming much more affordable, little by little.
On whether high gas prices are necessary for electric vehicles to succeed:
We did not develop this strategy only speculating on the gasoline price. We still have the emissions problem, which is serious. There is still a regulation going forward as far as fuel efficiency, and you're going to have a gasoline price that will be unmistakably on a trend going up.
When we planned the whole strategy, we were positioning the price for a barrel at $80. As you know today, we are at more than $110. It may go even higher than this. So this is not the only reason for which people move to an electric car, but this is certainly one of the reasons for which some people move.
On hybrids and PHEVs vs purely electric cars:
Fundamentally, I'm seeing really everything pointing to the direction of having a good segment of the market in the U.S. evolving toward the electric car, or I would say [the] mostly electric car. When I say mostly electric car, I'm not talking about hybrids. I'm talking about cars running mostly on electric mode and eventually we install gasoline support. But zero-emission cars, [with] no exhaust pipe, [where] you don't have to go in any way to a gas station, etc., are going to be in my opinion, the core, the heart, of the demand.
And if you want more, you can read the whole thing here.