Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is immovable in his belief that electric vehicles will make up 10 per cent of his companies’ global vehicle sales by 2020.

Ghosn is unwavering in believing that EV sales targets will be reached in all regions where they are available contrary to the lagging response from consumers worldwide.

“I still believe they will be 10 per cent of the market by 2020,” Ghosn said, as reported by industry journal Automotive News.

“I have zero doubt that zero emission is here to stay.”

Nissan is eight months out from launching large-scale production of the all-electric Nissan Leaf in the US in a bid to reduce the significant costs attached to having the vehicle produced only in Japan.

The Nissan Leaf is one of the world’s first mainstream full-electric vehicles and to date is the most successful, with more than 27,000 sold so far.

“I still believe the Renault-Nissan Alliance will sell about 1.5 million cumulative electric vehicles by 2016,” Ghosn told Automotive News.

“The higher fuel costs go up, the less we need incentives.”

So far this year Nissan has sold 1733 Leafs in the US on the way to its 2012 target of 20,000 to 25,000 units.

Renault-Nissan is one of the auto industry’s biggest supporters of EVs with the Leaf, Renault Zoe, and Renault Fluence ZE all stemming from the alliance, along with its strong support for the Better Place electric car network.

  • Sebastian, Style Messiah

    His optimism is misplaced… EVs will remain niche vehicles only. Fuel cell cars are the future not these expensive and low range efforts.

    • Phil

      Honda Clarity – the closest Fuel Cell car to realism so far:

      Approx US$200,000 price tag (so $300,000 in Australia?) and a 386KM range.

      How’s that for a “expensive and low range effort”…..

    • Viv

      There is not that much difference!  A fuel cell car is simply an EV where the electrical power is generated in-car by a fuel cell instead of it being recovered from a charged battery.  You save the weight and cost of the bigger battery of the EV but suffer the curently very high cost of a fuel cell engine capable to producing sufficient electricity on demand to power a car.

      Given that a helluva lot of electricity is used to produce hydrogen gas for fuel use, and the amount of compressed hydrogen that can be carried in a reasonably sized tank is quite small in energy terms resulting in short vehicle ranges, the major benefit that a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle could have over a pure EV is simply quicker refuelling (compared to recharging)..

      Personally I think the near future is more likely to be range extender EVs like the Chevy Holden Volt.  Mostly running as an plug in EV for day to day use, but with a small internal combustion engine optimised as a generator to produce electricity to allow for longer distance travel.

  • Sherwin

    Yes, zero emission vehicles are here to stay. But not yours. I wouldn’t want to buy a $50k Nissan Leaf. Also your car has no appeal in any aspect. Also, it should be noted that electric motors are sort of still in prototype form still, it’ll be years away before we entirely rely on electricity. 

    • Phil

      Electric motors are in prototype form? They’ve been around as long as petrol motors!
      Had any problems with the electric motors in your fridge/washing machine/air conditioner lately? I bet they’re far more reliable than the petrol motor in your car despite the fact they never get serviced.

    • Viv

      It surprises many people, but electric cars outsold internal conbustion engine cars in the early years of motoring (eg see Detroit Electric).  I think that they peaked in about 1912 and cars could have a range of 100km+ a low speeds with nickel iron batteries.  They had advantages of easy starting in cold weather as well as low noise, smell and vibration.  So they are anything but new.

      Furthermore electric motor technology for propulsion is hardly immature, ever hear of electric trains and trams?  It is just the matter of putting it all together into a modern automobile produced in sufficient numbers to give economy of scale.  Obviously paying $50K for a small hatch is as ridiculous as paying $10K+ for a 42″ SD Plasma TV circa 2003.

      Don’t forget that the instant high torque of an electric motor system can blow away a similar petrol engined system.  Electric motors are very suitable for high-performance sports cars (see Tesla), well at least until the batteries run flat.

  • nickdl

    1700 sales in the first quarter does not translate to 20-25,000 in one year.

  • Tokenpom

    Yes he’s right, electric vehicles of all kinds, battery, fuel cell, pneumatic, flywheel, – you name it, they will all have their time in the Sun – they are undoubtedly the future.

    In Ten years, ‘downloading’ your fuel will be as normal as downloading music is now.

    Many people in this ‘wide brown land’, could even be charging their cars off of their own Solar or other renewable power source – for free !

    We are still at the start of the first generation of these vehicles, and their current novelty still justifies a premium price,

    This would seem to be especially true in Australia, with Leaf’s costing between $5,000 and $10,000 more than anywhere else, but that will change.

    With the advent of an electric equivalent of the Austin 7, or Ford Model T, they will become mainstream, and normal market forces will take over.

    As far as I’m concerned, that day can’t come soon enough.

  • Stevo

    While the Nissan LEAF is an ugly looking car, so are all other Nissan-Renault hatchbacks!  Perhaps they need to get that ex-Audi guy over at Kia to pen a design for the LEAF-2.  After all he designs cheap as chips Kias that look great.