Ghosn’s Push for EVs Hits Consumer Snag

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Bloomberg News - March 21, 2013

In 2009, Nis­san Motor Co. CEO Car­los Ghosn put a large chunk of his company’s money into elec­tric cars, in par­tic­u­lar the Nis­san Leaf, and in par­tic­u­lar Denmark.

Find out where Den­mark and elec­tric vehi­cles stand now.

Car­los Ghosn laid a $5 bil­lion bet in 2009 that the world’s next Ford Model T would be elec­tric, and that Nis­san Motor Co. would lead a rev­o­lu­tion embraced by nations such as Den­mark. Three years later, sales of Leaf plug– in vehi­cles in the Nordic coun­try: 73.

Ghosn’s response has been to dou­ble down. Last week, he put his chief oper­at­ing offi­cer directly in charge of elec­tric cars, ele­vat­ing the Leaf’s impor­tance for the future of Japan’s second-biggest car­maker. With Nis­san sales falling short in the U.S. and China, some investors say they’d pre­fer the CEO focus on more imme­di­ate concerns.

As the Euro­pean Union’s debt cri­sis and the U.S. economy’s strug­gle to escape reces­sion pinched bud­gets, coun­tries like Den­mark haven’t responded to Ghosn’s zeal with the invest­ment in infra­struc­ture needed to stoke con­sumer interest.

Prices remain high. Accord­ing to Nissan’s U.S. web­site, a Leaf starts from $21,300 after fed­eral tax rebates, com­pa­ra­ble to the price of an Altima, which is roomier and has 70 per­cent more horse­power. In Den­mark, Nissan’s site adver­tises a Leaf for just over 268,000 krone, or more than $46,400.

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/thompsonwest Jim Thomp­son

    Gov­ern­ments around the world are push­ing automak­ers to increase fuel effi­ciency. The U.S. the cur­rent tar­get is 54.5 mpg. Elec­tric vehi­cles is the only viable way to get there with a rev­o­lu­tion in hydro­gen tech­nol­ogy. Con­sumers, how­ever, have not got­ten the mes­sage. While the trend in pas­sen­ger cars may smaller, buy­ers are still snap­ping up pick­ups and SUVs. This is a prob­lem for automak­ers. Next year’s CAFE stan­dard is 30 mpg. A host of new EVs will be hit­ting the mar­ket. What are the chances that a suf­fi­cient num­ber of con­sumers will trade their Tahoes for Volts? Hang on, it’s going to get bumpy.