As advanced-tech vehicle followers know, some pundits have questioned just how successful electric vehicles will be in coming years, but Nissan is squarely in the opposite camp.
This week Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn disclosed the company has thus far invested $5.6 billion (4 billion Euros) in the nascent technology, and has more left where that came from.
“We have already invested EUR4 billion, and we will be above that as we have development still to do,” Ghosn told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of a meeting organized by the French industry minister with local vehicle manufacturers and equipment suppliers.
Ghosn has been a consistent evangelist for electric vehicles and has projected their worldwide proliferation in coming years at the highest levels of the spectrum among those who’ve been asked to make such educated guesses.
By 2020, he has previously said, the global automobile market will be comprised of 10 percent EVs, and this week he said he is sticking to his forecast.
Ghosn has previously expressed less than full respect for hybrid vehicles saying two power sources in one drivetrain will never go beyond a niche offering.
His company is obviously putting its money where its mouth is as it continues to invest in battery, motor controls, and motor development, with an eye toward being the world leader in these technologies.
What is more, Nissan intends to do it while refraining from selling the Leaf in the world’s largest auto market, China, which demands intellectual property disclosures as a condition for doing business there. Instead, China will get less sophisticated EVs projected for 2015 made with a joint venture partner in China,
Ghosn’s bullish sentiment is based on creating economies of scale that will drive down the costs of expensive components – particularly batteries, which in turn, he expects to continue to improve.
To get a contrasting opinion from a competitive counterpart, Dow Jones questioned Philippe Varin, chief executive of Renault rival PSA Peugeot-Citroen (UG.FR).
Varin projected full-electric vehicles to comprise just 5 percent of the global market by 2020.
Hybrids will be around 10 to 15 percent, he estimated, meaning internal combustion drivetrains will comprise four-fifths of the global market in around eight years from now.
Of course these kinds of projections are always being updated and anything could change.
For his part, it would appear if there is anything to the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy, Ghosn and company are throwing everything they can at it to make his belief come true.