Renault-Nissan has invested $5.6 billion in EVs thus far

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.


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  • AP

    Wow! They might be able to break even on a per-car basis in ten years, and recoup the $5.6 billion in 50 years.


  • Max Reid

    We need visionaries like Ghosn. Great job.

    Between 2000 – 2010, hardly 1,000 EVs were sold. But Nissan is selling 1,000 + Leafs in USA alone every month.
    Meanwhile Renault is planning to launch Electric Kangoo for just Euro 20,000. Also another of Renaults EV will have 115 mile range.

    When more EVs like Focus, Miev, Tesla S come in, the EV race will kick in and the cost will go down with mass production.

    See how the price of Solar PV panels has gone down by 70% in the last 3 years.

  • Van

    What is missing from the article is the pace of Nissan’s development of its NMC battery for the next generation Leaf. This new battery was said to provide a range of 186 miles, as compared to the claim of 100 miles for the current Leaf. Now since CU says their testing shows about 70 miles of combined driving, with a little less in cold weather, then the NMC should provide about 130 miles of worry free range.

    When that car debuts, say late 2013, they will sell as fast as Nissan can make them.

  • Yegor

    By 08.25.2011 Nisan already sold 10,000 LEAFs globally:

    With average price of $35,000 it is:
    $35,000 x 10,000 = $350,000,000

    Right now they cannot produce enough vehicles – they will recover their money soon.

  • James Davis

    Ghosn is a visionary, but I believe his 10% EVs by 2020 is very low. If the automakers make them and put them on the market, people will buy them. We are desperate to get away from fossil fuels and high gas prices. I don’t want to have to stop at another gas station for the rest of my life, so that means that I will never buy a hybrid. It is not the lesser of the two evils…it is an extension of the first evil and Varin’s projections are way off point and just a walk in fairyland. Hybrids will not even make it to being a niche. Why would anyone want to extend the fossil fuel age by buying a hybrid and continue paying those high gas prices? Buy a couple of solar panels with a life span of 30 years or more and your driving fuel will be free.

  • Max Reid

    If you have a full hybrid, there is every possibility that you can convert it to plugin with 10 – 20 mile range. Some companies have converted it to even 60 mile range.

    So Hybrid is not evil, even the micro and partial hybrids are lesser evil than the non-hybrids. We have to use whatever technology thats available to reduce oil consumption.

    CNG / LPG / Ethanol / Ecoboost / G-Diesel / Electric and so on.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Plug-in’s are the way to go. I think they should not focus some much on pure EV’s. AAA has an EV charging rescue service now in limited leaf areas…..


  • Capt. Concernicus

    @ James,

    Sorry James, but you’re wrong.

    With 3,000,000 Prii sold worldwide (1,000,000 in the U.S.) and major automakers like; Toyota, GM, Ford, Hyundai, Honda, Porcshe and Nissan all offering some sort of hybrid vehicle, hybrids have gone mainstream baby! Get used to it.

    Don’t know why you hate hybrids so much, but I don’t really care either.

    As long as you understand that hybrids aren’t a niche market. Anyone can buy them for a reasonable price. Just because more people don’t doesn’t make them a niche market. It just makes them clueless.

  • Max Reid

    Hello Capt

    Prius sales reached
    1 Million in May 2008
    2 Million in Oct 2010
    yet to reach 3 million.

    Only Toyota’s Hybrid sales reached 3 Million, not that or Prius alone.
    But soon, it will reach 3 Million and we are just waiting for that day.

  • Max Reid
    Honda introduced redesigned Insight.
    Honda going to start producing Minivehicles (660cc) in Japan again.
    Volvo settles for vehicles with V4 engine and also going to try flywheel.
    V4 engine replaced by V3 engine.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    @ Max,

    Thaks for the correction. It is over 2 million. Toyota hybrid sales are over 3 million.

    Prius sales will reach over 3 million eventually. Hopefully as soon as possible.