The 2025 projection comes from two of the most senior executives within Nissan: chief planning officer, Philippe Klein, and executive vice-president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business, Daniele Schillaci.
This broadly complements the projections of fellow electric car investment leader Volkswagen, which wants to launch the I.D electric hatch in 2020 priced on par with an equivalent Golf diesel.
“We see this happening somewhere in the middle of the next decade,” Klein said, saying the increased cost of emissions regulations on IC cars, and the reducing cost of batteries through scale and maturity, would see the two types of propulsion converge.
“We are not saying that we will see it everywhere… but for a lot of vehicles it’s going to become an obvious technology.
“For a lot of vehicles commuting every day, it is going to become an obvious technology, so that is going to trigger the pace of the deployment,” he said, adding that it wasn’t “gameplay” between mature and emerging markets, since some of the most polluted cities are in the latter.
Schillaci was even more precise with the timing he mooted, citing a number of external studies.
“We see this tipping point happening around 2025. Then for a customer to buy a petrol over an EV will be probably the same cost and then it will be really exponential,” he said.
“If you have the same price a petrol and an EV... why would you have traditional technology?” he asked.
Schillaci also said enabling the full-scale rollout of EVs was less dependent on government incentives than the technology itself — counter to the views of many Australian divisions of car brands, including former Nissan management.
“The most important thing is the technology itself, if the customer connects with the tech. And the EV tech clearly shows that the customer, when they experience an EV, most of them probably won’t buy a traditional engine because once you use this EV experience, I am afraid if you move to a diesel, it won’t be your first choice,” he said.
As we know, the second-generation Nissan Leaf is rolling out in global markets at the moment. This version has a range of about 400km and a price point putting it into contention with high-spec IC hatches — particularly if tax incentives are in play.
The company also previewed a future crossover electric car with the IMx concept this week, with a theoretical driving range of 600km. The Renault-Nissan Alliance has also committed to 12 EVs already.
Nissan also has a ‘milder’ plan for regions where EVs are less feasible, or on vehicles where the tech is less suitable. This is called e-Power, and it uses a combustion engine to power an electric motor, which is the sole driver of the wheels. Sort of like a range-extender without an external plug-in point.
The company’s Note e-Power hatch has been a massive hit in Japan, even out-selling the conventional-hybrid Toyota Prius. As such, the tech is now flagged for global markets at much greater scale, potentially even in commercial vehicles.
This plan includes Australia in the mid-term, too.
“We have huge request of the new Leaf and huge request for the new e-Power technology and they are products we are seeking for the Australian market,” Schillaci said.
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.