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Published on November 13th, 2009 | by Nick Chambers

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Nissan CEO Says Their Electric Car Strategy is “Unique” in Industry

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In Los Angeles this morning, at the United States unveiling of the Nissan LEAF electric car—set to hit showrooms in late 2010—Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was enthusiastic and clearly proud of the position the Nissan-Renault Alliance has taken as a leader in the development of electric cars and charging infrastructure.

“The LEAF is a new paradigm of the car,” said Ghosn. “LEAF represents a totally new transformational technology that will change the way people drive, use, and power their vehicles. And the time is right for this breakthrough.”

Citing growing concern over the environment, tougher regulations, and fear over a dwindling supply of crude oil, Ghosn indicated that Nissan has factored these issues into their overall electrification strategy.

“With our alliance partner, Renault, we are taking a position which is unique in our industry which is a comprehensive approach that goes beyond our vehicles alone,” noted Ghosn. “Our vision includes lithium-ion battery development and lifecycle management, infrastructure support and collaborative partnerships that educate and engage the public.”

“With Renault we are the only ones investing in both battery and vehicle production plants to bring a line up designed for the mass market,” he continued. “We are in control of all the core zero emission technologies, especially the batteries that are at the heart of our electric cars. And we are the only ones signing the agreements that build the framework for the successful large scale implementation [of electric cars].”

Recently Ghosn has indicated that Nissan is essentially skipping hybrid-only technology and betting the barn on electric vehicles in an attempt to dominate that space. Certainly it seems that most of the company’s resources are now dumped into electric car development, and with the amount of money the company has clearly spent on Nissan LEAF marketing, it’s all or nothing for them. It must be both a terrifying and electrifying (pun intended) time to work at the company.

Along with the US unveiling of the LEAF, Ghosn made the announcement that the next electric vehicle they will bring to the US is an electric version of a Nissan light duty commercial vehicle for city deliveries. And after that will be an Infiniti compact luxury electric car, which, according to Ghosn, will be a “stylish, high-performance four seater.”

More and more it appears that what I wrote a year ago about Nissan being on track for electric car world domination is coming to fruition.

Disclaimer: The author’s flight and accommodations for this trip were furnished by Nissan


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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • dustin slade

    Nissan seems to be quite confident with their electric car sector. The only thing i would ask for, is an small electric 4×4 for north america. Along the lines of a Nissan Patrol or 2-door pathfinder. Over the years the pathfinder has changed a from small narrow 4×4, to a huge beast like a GMC Yukon. Since there wont be a electric jeep anytime soon, you could corner the market. ELECTRIC 4×4!!! do it! :)

  • dustin slade

    Nissan seems to be quite confident with their electric car sector. The only thing i would ask for, is an small electric 4×4 for north america. Along the lines of a Nissan Patrol or 2-door pathfinder. Over the years the pathfinder has changed a from small narrow 4×4, to a huge beast like a GMC Yukon. Since there wont be a electric jeep anytime soon, you could corner the market. ELECTRIC 4×4!!! do it! :)

  • Norm

    Since I don’t have a electrical socket in my back pocket, I think I will stay with something that can at least, produce a little electricity. Also I still remember Renault from the sixtys.

  • Norm

    Since I don’t have a electrical socket in my back pocket, I think I will stay with something that can at least, produce a little electricity. Also I still remember Renault from the sixtys.

  • Marc P.

    As for world electric car domination…???

    Whenever you talk about mass market, it comes down to simple questions:

    How much ? How far does it go ? How long to recharge ?

    Going electric only with NO option to extend it’s range, even if it was only with a small diesel engine to recharge the batteries for, say, 100 miles, is very risky indeed. Will there be a market for this? That, in my opinion, will depend largely on the answers to the first two questions. Going too fast to electric only, may give them the advantage, but it also may break them financially, putting all their resources in a technology that isn’t yet mature and that people aren’t ready to embrace. When people finally will be to massively embrace electric only transportation, Nissan may have long gone bankrupt !

    As the saying goes, time will tell. I sure wish them luck.

    Marc P.

  • Marc P.

    As for world electric car domination…???

    Whenever you talk about mass market, it comes down to simple questions:

    How much ? How far does it go ? How long to recharge ?

    Going electric only with NO option to extend it’s range, even if it was only with a small diesel engine to recharge the batteries for, say, 100 miles, is very risky indeed. Will there be a market for this? That, in my opinion, will depend largely on the answers to the first two questions. Going too fast to electric only, may give them the advantage, but it also may break them financially, putting all their resources in a technology that isn’t yet mature and that people aren’t ready to embrace. When people finally will be to massively embrace electric only transportation, Nissan may have long gone bankrupt !

    As the saying goes, time will tell. I sure wish them luck.

    Marc P.

  • http://you-read-it-here-first.com John Bailo

    Build the Hydrogen Highway and get on with it already.

  • http://you-read-it-here-first.com John Bailo

    Build the Hydrogen Highway and get on with it already.

  • JJ

    The only thing that would stop me buying a Leaf is sticker shock, I believe Nissan will have to lease the battery while I buy the rest. Since a Leaf without upfront battery cost should be as affordable as any ICE car, that is the way to go. The battery lease charges would cancel the savings from grid charging so final costs may be about the same as an ICE car.

    Also I expect battery development to continue rapidly, I would not be surprised in 10 years if battery packs have 2-4 times the energy density based on other formulations like Li Ni or Zinc air. I would hope that an older EV could still be upgraded with a newer battery as they become available. The retired batteries will still be useful for grid use but this needs to be done by the manufacturer.

  • JJ

    The only thing that would stop me buying a Leaf is sticker shock, I believe Nissan will have to lease the battery while I buy the rest. Since a Leaf without upfront battery cost should be as affordable as any ICE car, that is the way to go. The battery lease charges would cancel the savings from grid charging so final costs may be about the same as an ICE car.

    Also I expect battery development to continue rapidly, I would not be surprised in 10 years if battery packs have 2-4 times the energy density based on other formulations like Li Ni or Zinc air. I would hope that an older EV could still be upgraded with a newer battery as they become available. The retired batteries will still be useful for grid use but this needs to be done by the manufacturer.

  • dustin slade

    “I would not be surprised in 10 years if battery packs have 2-4 times the energy density… ”

    I think that with all the new technology coming out, like metal oxygen batteries, they could have 10 times the power of a lithium-ion in about 2 to 4 years. There are some posts on this site about new battery technology. Funding for research and development is the only thing that held us back for so long. The Baker electric car was made in 1909, so its not like the technology is new, just suppressed.

  • dustin slade

    “I would not be surprised in 10 years if battery packs have 2-4 times the energy density… ”

    I think that with all the new technology coming out, like metal oxygen batteries, they could have 10 times the power of a lithium-ion in about 2 to 4 years. There are some posts on this site about new battery technology. Funding for research and development is the only thing that held us back for so long. The Baker electric car was made in 1909, so its not like the technology is new, just suppressed.

  • Sunnyy

    “Funding for research and development is the only thing that held us back for so long. The Baker electric car was made in 1909, so its not like the technology is new, just suppressed.”

    >>>Well said dustin, well said.

    John Bailo: “Build the Hydrogen Highway and get on with it already.”

    >>>hydrogen fuel is more expensive than gas. Show me an hydrogen car that is less than $100,000.

  • Sunnyy

    “Funding for research and development is the only thing that held us back for so long. The Baker electric car was made in 1909, so its not like the technology is new, just suppressed.”

    >>>Well said dustin, well said.

    John Bailo: “Build the Hydrogen Highway and get on with it already.”

    >>>hydrogen fuel is more expensive than gas. Show me an hydrogen car that is less than $100,000.

  • Chris Mitchell

    “Funding for research and development is the only thing that held us back for so long.”

    >>>Well said dustin, well said.

    John Bailo: “Build the Hydrogen Highway and get on with it already.”

    >>>hydrogen fuel is more expensive than gas. Show me an hydrogen car that is less than $100,000.

    Please reference the sentiment expressed in the quote you liked. R&D in all potential lines should continue and should be funded. Please remember how most electricity is generated; it’s a fossil-fuel form.

  • Chris Mitchell

    “Funding for research and development is the only thing that held us back for so long.”

    >>>Well said dustin, well said.

    John Bailo: “Build the Hydrogen Highway and get on with it already.”

    >>>hydrogen fuel is more expensive than gas. Show me an hydrogen car that is less than $100,000.

    Please reference the sentiment expressed in the quote you liked. R&D in all potential lines should continue and should be funded. Please remember how most electricity is generated; it’s a fossil-fuel form.

  • Jennifer

    I am skeptical. I’d love to have an electric car but GM, CARB, oil companies and government made it impossible to get an electric car in the 90s despite consumer demand. Batteries/electric are a much better option than cells/hydrogen. Read “The Hype of Hydrogen” sometime. My guess is LEAF will be a concept car and never really be in the public hands, but time will tell.

  • Jennifer

    I am skeptical. I’d love to have an electric car but GM, CARB, oil companies and government made it impossible to get an electric car in the 90s despite consumer demand. Batteries/electric are a much better option than cells/hydrogen. Read “The Hype of Hydrogen” sometime. My guess is LEAF will be a concept car and never really be in the public hands, but time will tell.

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