Ghosn’s Push for EVs Hits Consumer Snag


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.



  • 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.