The revelationMotor Corp. and Motors Inc. are teaming up on electric-vehicle development is neither a shocker nor a game-changer for Motor Co. Ltd., CEO Carlos Ghosn says.
“It's not a surprise. We want to see a lot of car makers getting into electric cars, with a partner or without a partner,” Ghosn says.
Ghosn likes the all-electric Leaf's odds of success and saysis deeply involved in all aspects of bringing EVs to market, including infrastructure development.
“We're just not here to sell a car,” he says.
At Ghosn's urging, Nissan opted for a full battery-powered car, rather than an extended-range EV like the upcoming Chevrolet Volt.
“I told the engineers I don't want gasoline in the car, period. I want the car to be zero noise, zero emission, zero trouble, period.”
Ghosn says the Leaf already is sold out in the U.S. and Japan for 2010, with 13,000 pre-orders.
He maintains a bullish outlook for EVs, predicting Nissan and alliance partnerSA will achieve 500,000 EV sales annually by 2013.
This year, global auto sales should hit nearly 70 million units, so 500,000 EVs annually is less than 1% of the market, he points out.
“The more we advance into EVs, the more we feel comfortable with (them),” he says, dismissing critics who may be more bearish.
“We're in it. What the competitors are saying is not something that's going to change the course of events for us.”
Ghosn sees the U.S. as the top market for EVs currently, but says coming government incentives ultimately should propel China to the top spot.
In the U.S., Nissan initially will distribute the Leaf only to select markets deemed ready with sufficient infrastructure.