Electric car range anxiety will soon be a thing of the past, Nissan expects to ramp up its EV sales to 10 percent in a few years and it will have full autonomous drive “before anyone else.”
The latter quote by Nissan executive Akiko Hoshino was perceived as a mild snub of wannabe autonomous tech, it comes in the wake of Tesla’s Autopilot release last week. Hoshino and corporate officer Hiroto Saikawa today said Nissan is intensifying its electrification toward the end of the decade.
Saikawa told reporters at Nissan’s Yokahama-based headquarters today two factors will make EVs go mainstream by 2019/2020.
One is that strict greenhouse gas emission targets will begin to go in effect by 2020 around the world, and these, it was said, can be met only by a significant increase in electric vehicles. The other factor is affordable and capable batteries with potential for cost-effective 250-mile-range EVs will be ready for the demand at this time.
“The fuel consumption targets will become very stringent, and that will kick in at around 2019/2020, especially in the United States,” said Saikawa. “Suddenly there will be surge of demand.”
This is when Nissan aims for EV sales to rise at first to 5 percent of its total, and to 10 percent “in the near future,” said Saikawa. “And if we would use a wider definition of electrification and also count hybrids, more than half will be electric cars,” Saikawa added.
One might presume plug-in hybrids are also what was implied here, and meanwhile Nissan has already shown a Leaf mule with a 250 mile range battery.
If the grand goals come to pass, it would also vindicate CEO Carlos Ghosn as a true visionary, as at least since 2011 he has been calling for 10-percent EVs by 2020.
His early projections were tempered by less than expected sales, but the decade is not over yet, and Nissan says it has the battery to make it possible.
This year the company is simply holding down the line with a 107-mile range Leaf upgrade before that car launched in 2011 is completely revised for 2017.
According to Bertel Schmitt, the editor of the Daily Kanbahn who attended the press briefing, knows the culture and speaks Japanese and English, among other languages, his read is they are going for it.
The Kanbahn reports Nissan “is so confident of its technological moxie” that it will base its entire Japanese marketing on EVs and autonomous drive.
The company has demonstrated a Leaf so equipped as well, and has previously announced plans to have highway based autonomous drive by the end of the decade.
Schmitt told us Nissan expects to again demonstrate its increasing prowess imminently.
“At the Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan is planning to put more than 100 journalists, foreign and Japanese, in a true autonomous drive Nissan Leaf, and will send them through thick Tokyo city traffic,” Schmitt said. “Freeway is easy, city traffic is the holy grail of autonomous.”
Now with others pushing, including Tesla, Nissan says it will flex its technological muscles here too “before anyone else” and with a decided air of self assuredness.