Ghosn: EV Sales Are Driven By “Mainly State And Company Incentives”

2 months ago by Steven Loveday 113

Electric Car

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and ZOE

The electric car of today won’t sell well if not for state and company subsidies, according to outspoken Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn asserts that at this point in time there isn’t significant enough demand for the electric car from private consumers to drive sales. He believes that the low volume EVs of today will only find success if there are government subsidies, and thus enabling future success down the road.  Ghosn shared:

“Electric car sales are not driven by consumer demand. Consumer demand is very limited for electric cars. [Sales] are driven by emissions regulations, and by mainly state and company incentives, which is pushing the consumer to buy these types of cars.”

“It is very difficult to make the electric car an attractive buy without government subsidies for the consumer. So how can you support electric cars if it depends on government subsidies? We need not for an infinite period of time: just to make sure that you jump-start the sales.”

Ghosn was speaking in general terms in regards to all areas globally, although he didn’t make that abundantly clear. He did, however, reference China and the U.S. as examples:

Electric Car

2017 Nissan LEAF

“When you jump-start the sales, and you get the scale you need, then you can be on your own. That’s why the electric cars are mainly thriving in countries where the government is supporting the consumer: China, being the number one, the United States being the second one.”

“In the United States you have not only federal support but you have state support, which is different from one state to the other. And we can see that the sales of electric cars is higher in states [with more support].”

Ghosn also pointed out that the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan all have electric car subsidies in place. Though we see Australia as a very “green friendly” area, especially with news of solar-powered homes (likely linked heavily to the climate), Ghosn doesn’t see EVs taking off there.

“I don’t think, today, that there is anything that would lead us to think that Australia is going to see electric cars [in mass numbers anytime soon]. Usually electric cars take off when there is a country policy about supporting zero-emission transportation.”

The outspoken CEO said that battery tech and pricing is just not where it needs to be yet. But, he did acknowledge that electric cars are simple, and can become highly competitive. Now though, it’s just not “the thing to do” in most people’s minds. He continued:

“Electric cars, by definition, are simpler to assemble: there is nothing expensive in the technology of electric cars – [they] can be extremely competitive. But as long as electric cars represent less than half a percent of the total industry, it’s very difficult for them to compete against 99.5 per cent of the industry, which are internal-combustion engines.”

The numbers don’t lie. Ghosn is right to say that the electric car market is a “niche” market at the moment. People that truly want to help the environment may splurge, or those with enough extra cash to do so, but, in terms of the mass population, there’s still a long way to go. He concluded:

“So unless you see a public policy saying ‘I favour zero-emission cars’, ‘I favour new technology cars’, which are usually the electric cars, and eventually plug-in hybrids … this is where many countries are giving a subsidy to the consumer to encourage him to buy these types of cars and at the same time they are supporting communities to develop charging infrastructure, because they know if there is not enough infrastructure there’s not enough take-up.”

“The subsidies are important to jump-start the technology.”

Source: Car Advice

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113 responses to "Ghosn: EV Sales Are Driven By “Mainly State And Company Incentives”"

  1. Stefan says:

    Big lies! They make the electric car super expensive and super ugly! An electric car is more expensive than a hybrid. In fact, the car producers and big oil will lose much money from service a less complex car.

    1. Birger says:

      Oh please….

      Renault makes the Zoe, a nice city car. They have electric versions of the Kangoo. Just the same as the fossil fule ones.

      Teslas are lovely.

      The Bolt is nice and a good car according to the ones I know that has tested it.

      The E-Golf an E-Polo are the same as their counterparts wit fossil engines.

      1. Mister G says:

        Stefan is correct if he would’ve singled out Nissan leaf, 7 years after first leaf it still looks the same and it costs 2 times more than a Nissan versa. Ghosn dropped the ball and now tesla is going to own the EV market LOL

        1. JayTee says:

          Unfortunately it’s a small market to own.

          1. Timmy says:

            The market is, or will become, the entire automotive market. Is that small?

        2. JayTee says:

          So the Leaf is too expensive, but Teslas aren’t? Hmm.

          1. stan1 says:

            Correct, the Leaf is not competitive at its price level in its model category. Tesla’s Model S and Model X are both competitive in their upscale, higher price categories.

            1. Sch says:

              No they are not. The competitor to model S is BMW 5 series, M-B E class and Audi A6. All of them a lot cheaper.
              Try to compare the model S to M-B S class and it will lose badly in build quality and luxury as well, both of these are uncompromised in this price range, and Tesla does make compromises in these areas.

      2. notting says:

        Zoe is bad concerning:
        – No height adjust for the drivers seat (WTF?! All other car got that!)
        – No 43kW charge anymore (in Germany).
        – No towing hitch in the (accessories) price list.
        – Too small (I prefer s.th. like Megane).
        – Still not the range of an ICE although it charges much slower than going to a gas station (thinking of people not having the chance to charge at home, work, etc. as often as it’s necessary).

        notting

    2. Alltesla says:

      Correction Carlos, Sub 200 miles EV sales are mainly driven by State And Company Incentives.

      1. stan1 says:

        Continuing your statement:

        …because EVs are only price competitive at the high end of the market currently and won’t be competitive where Nissan and most other manufacturers grudgingly sell them in the low end market for another 5 years. High end EV wondercar startups are popping up out of the woodwork because this mismarketing/foot dragging by ICE builders gives them a real shot at market relevance.

      2. John Doe says:

        No. Look at Denmark, and Tesla sales after they dropped the incentives.
        They have sold 1? Tesla since then..

        Incentives are important. Here in Norway EV sales are like 25% of the overall car sales, because ICE cars are taxed through the roof, and fuel cost is rediculous. Not to mention maintenance costs are very high, as parts and labour is super expensive.
        A always have all the maintenance done in Germany because of this.

        I know some people that owns a business, and they choose a really expensive company car – and then they can deduct leasing costs and running costs (fuel, parking, toll roads, maintenance) and end up with paying no tax at all. Then the Norwegian variety of the IRS question then how it can be SO expensive to have a company car. And they just answer tax on car, tax on fuel, toll roads and high maintenance costs.

    3. Peter says:

      The point here is that ICE carsmakers do not wish to sell EV cars. They are forced by law and they do not like it. That is why most of the EV cars are so ugly looking. EV cars are simpler and cheaper to make in volume, but the carmakers will loose so much money because there is almost no service on a EV. So the game is all about the money.
      I think people miss the financial part here. Who doesn’t want to save money? Who wants to give there money to terrorists ? Can you make your own oil at home ?
      Sure you have to make a investment and pay a lot upfront. But if you work the numbers you see that you are financially the winner ! Environment will also gain from this as a side effect. (Depends how you see on it). So even without subsidizing EV, it is a jackpot to buy a EV and solar roof.

    4. Peter says:

      100% right.
      Tesla shows the way.
      Model 3 will scare the s*** out the ICE guys if production goes smooth.
      The ICE guys strategy did not work as planned. Make ugly expensive cars to make buyers look like fools did not work.

  2. Stefan says:

    Hope Elon will destroy them in the months to come!

  3. Michael Will says:

    Model 3 will prove him wrong

    1. R.S says:

      Because with 500k extra EVs will will be at 1%! Haha Goshn, you didn’t think about that, did you?

      The Model 3 will still be a drop in the hot bucket. To see some meaningful change, 10% of all new vehicles for example, the US alone must buy 1.6 million EVs, yearly.

      And to get there we will need incentives, regulations and infrastructure. Otherwise the EV market will just be a niche, dominated by Tesla.

      1. Francois says:

        You look at it wrong. 500 000 Model 3 in the mid luxury market is more like 20-30% market share. Model S has 50% market share in its big sedan category.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          For global sales, I think your percentages are off by a full order of magnitude, 5-10 times larger than reality.

          The day will come when EV sales really take off, and start eating deeply into the gasmobile market. But that day isn’t going to come as soon as we ardent EV advocates wish.

          1. stan1 says:

            Chinese NEV and CARB ZEV credit requirements will be around 10 percent in 2020. While both are credits with lower actual sales requirement percentages, those are still healthy volumes at global scales. Then you have the EU emission reduction requirements, Indian EV plans, etc. There is no chance all of these mandates/efforts globally go away. At the likely 2020 volumes with all of the above programs still in place, the ball is rolling downhill gathering speed by 2020. 2020 is therefore a pretty safe bet. It is very possible ICE vehicles cannot find buyers in most markets by 2030 which is lightening fast by automotive standards.

            1. Timmy says:

              Lightning, but otherwise “100% correct”. 🙂

          2. Francois says:

            Sorry, I meant US sales.

            1. Francois says:

              Looking at this chart:

              1. Nix says:

                That graph still has the same US vs. global numbers problem.

                The BMW sales are US numbers, and the Tesla deposits are global numbers

                1. menorman says:

                  So you’re asserting that most TM3 sales are for international customers?

                  1. Francois says:

                    My point is, if there are that many deposits, imagine what the real demand will be. And even if it’s 2-3% worldwide, it’s still a lot if you consider the cars it competes with, which then will be more like 20-30% of its market. That proves there is a real demand.

              2. One says:

                So yeah, you’re comparing a car that sold a mere few thousand units last year to a thing that doesn’t even exist yet. And you don’t see a problem with your logic. Hey everybody, remember those crazy cheap leases? That’s what he’s talking about, and he’s absolutely right. Unless your name is Mr cool Tesla, I am sorry but we all need to accept, EVs aren’t going anywhere soon.

  4. wavelet says:

    I don’t know to what extent he’s correct, but in any case it’s not a smart thing to say for anyone interested in promoting EVs.

    There have been low(ish) end EVs for 7 years now… How much longer does he think direct incentives will be needed? if it’s another 5-10 years, 15 years sounds awfully long for a “jump-start” period.

    People doubtful about EVs would likely conclude that in that case, the money’s better spent on public transportation infrastructure.

    Instead of lobbying for incentives, I’d like to see efforts to either help charging issues (long-distance as well as for apartment dwellers), esp. making sure all EVs use compatible ewquipment, or push pollution taxes for ICE cars to internalize their costs.

    1. terminaltrip421 says:

      how long were PCs around before they became something everyone wanted? or cell phones? I’m trying to say some incredibly popular consumer products had long jump-start periods. I want an electric car but recognize it’s not a possibility until the prices come down, I become wealthy or I meet a magnanimous benefactor.

      1. Morrisg says:

        Or you can buy a used EV at reasonable prices. Oh, wait, you can buy a used Leaf for less than $10,000 today. That’s what I did to try EVs out and guess what? The Leaf works well for a 40 mile per day work commute, even in winter. And our electricity costs 1/4 of what gas costs in a 25mpg car.

        Try it, you’ll like it.

        1. terminaltrip421 says:

          unfortunately I am one of those that needs more range. at least once a month I have a 123 mile one way trip culminating in a hotel stay and further travel followed by a 123 mile return trip the next day. while my other commutes are usually more manageable at 20 miles each way the one trip leaves me with little options.

          1. Timmy says:

            I could do 123 in my 30kwh (2017) Leaf… with slow driving, no hills and little to no​ climate control. 🙂 Much easier if there were a quick charger at the 80 mile mark! Very affordable lease with federal, state and utility incentives!

          2. Martin Winlow says:

            123 miles from where to where?

        2. jim says:

          Yep, a used Leaf is a steal if the range works for you. Picked up a 2014 SV with 8,750 miles on if for $9,800.
          Once you drive an EV you will never want to drive an ICE car again.

      2. wavelet says:

        Personal computers aren’t good examples for your argument… I should know, I made a fulltime living from programming them starting the time I was in middle school, in 1978.
        Even before the IBM PC, they became very popular very quickly as soon as non-hobbyist consumer models were available from Apple, Commodore & Radio Shack. The Commodore 64 is still the most sold computer model ever, and it was intro’d in 1982 .

        1. terminaltrip421 says:

          B.S. it’s exactly appropriate. you’re acting as though the first adopters were somehow comparable to the mass market. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer#Sales

  5. John says:

    It sure would help if the dealerships who sell them might actually try to sell them….or knew a damn thing about them.

    Recently had my dealership pick up my Volt from work for an oil change (once every two years!)

    They guy had to come back inside because, his words “it’s not starting”

    I tell him it’s an EV, and to push the blue button and put it in gear.

    He goes back out, tries again, and comes back in. “there’s something wrong with your car, it’s still not starting.”

    So I go outside, push the blue button, and move it out of the parking space. I thought the guy was going to have a stroke…he COULD NOT figure out how a car could move without starting…

    This is why Tesla will succeed. The legacy dealers are idiots….I’ve bought 4 Volts and have yet to have a positive experience with any interaction at a GM dealer. Sales or service.

    1. Ziv says:

      Dealers are catching on. I got my Volt from Criswell in Gaithersburg in Maryland. Their top Volt salesman is also an award winning Corvette sales man, but his Volt is his daily driver. Great guy, Mike Furman.

      In Virginia, I get my Volt serviced at Koons in Tysons. Jim is the service guy I go to, always has the car plugged in when I come to pick it up. Knows the Volt from the air dam to the driver info screen.

      When I got my Volt 4 years ago, Koons was not making deals so I drove quite a ways to get it. Now they are pushing Volts and Bolts a lot more.

      1. John says:

        I’m pretty sure the only person at my dealership that would even know how to plug my car in would be the single Volt Tech. As such, it’s never been plugged in while dropped off for service.

    2. randomhuman says:

      Wow unbelievable!

    3. Tom says:

      GM’s dealers are so bad, they started a separate company that had of course many goals but one primary reason was to re-invent their dealers. That company was Saturn. It would be I think a shrewd move for GM to spin Saturn back up as a brand and move their Volt/Bolt etc into separate dealers with the Saturn philosophy.

      1. Dav8or says:

        Agreed. I have suggested this many times. I think GM would be better served to create a separate brand and dealer network to sell only their BEVs and PHEVs. They could even use the same strategy as Tesla and set up showrooms in malls.

        A separate, stand alone brand and store would free the legacy dealers from the burden of having to sell cars they don’t want to sell and also give the consumer focused, well versed sales people when it comes to plug in cars (and trucks too someday).

        1. Lady says:

          Well, they probably don’t intend to do that since they worked really hard to block Tesla from selling directly to consumers. on the on hand they boast about their compliance car, and on the other they keep out Tesla because they are afraid to get crushed by the competition. Their selling point in Michigan: you can buy and get your car serviced locally.

          Really want to support American car companies but these apps do dinosaurs are kicking and screaming at the thought of evolving. Oh well.

      2. Nix says:

        They can’t bring back Saturn, it has the stink of a failed company attached to it.

        When GM first launched Saturn, they branded it as new and better and modern, with the Saturn based on a clean sheet design. Many people considered Saturn like a premium brand, a step above the Chevrolet brand.

        By the time Saturn was shut down, their car resale value had already tanked, and their once good reputation had been widely devalued, with many people coming to consider the Saturn brand am overpriced budget brand well below the Chevrolet line of cars. Plastic disposable junk.

        The last thing GM needs to do is revisit that controversy and reopen that debate.

        GM (and all ICE car companies that also build EV’s) are in a double conundrum. They need to train more sales and service employees on EV’s/PHEV’s, but they run into these realities:

        1) The vast majority of their sales are still ICE, so they still have to funnel the majority of their employee training into ICE training.

        2) Turnover in automotive sales and service jobs is at record high levels. If you train employees on GM EV’s, a few months later they will be gone, working at the Toyota or Ford dealership. So if they spend on training everybody, lots of that training literally walks right out the door. And the top sales people who have been around a while don’t want to get stuck doing EV sales because there are a lot of people who test drive but don’t buy and that cuts into their sales numbers.

        1. Nix says:

          To make my position clear, yes they absolutely _need_ separate sales channels to solve their sales/service issues.

          But Saturn isn’t a good choice of brands.

          And their current sales levels aren’t high enough to support completely new dealership networks.

          ICE car companies are stuck in a conundrum where there currently are no good solutions.

          1. Josh Bryant says:

            Agreed.

            They should have revived the Detroit Electric brand name (already picked up now).

            They could still leverage design and engineering from the existing brands, but badge they all together. So lineup would currently look like DE Volt, DE Bolt, [place holder for DE CUV], and DE CT-6 (new name of course).

            BMW is trying to do this, but the sub-branding isn’t as good. They should have copied the Mini idea with the i series.

          2. ModernMarvelFan says:

            Nix,

            I think you have described the problems very accurately.

            I don’t think it is an easy problem to solve but one that has to be solved eventually.

            The only way to change that is to have more products out and more demands. But they are running timid at this point since the demand on the EVs coming from legacy automakers are still limited.

        2. Martin Winlow says:

          Can’t use ‘Saturn’? How about ‘Uranus’, then?

          1. Rich says:

            GMTA
            This would be an accurate description for car dealerships.

    4. Kevin C says:

      4 Volts!
      Holy smokes.
      I am green with envy.

      Man I hope Chevy can come up with a fantastic lease offer for end of MY17s so I can get my first one.

    5. Lady says:

      Wait – your car has oil? I thought EVs didn have traditional style engines 🤔

      1. John Doe says:

        Most EVs have shock absorbers,joints, brakes, cooling fluid, oil, ball bearings, AC and other stuff that needs service of some kind once in a while.
        As far as I know the cheapest electric car to maintain is the BMW i3 which offer a cheap 3 or 5 year deal here in Norway.
        But eventually the things mentioned above will need to be replaced. At what cost?
        More then a regular ICE car because of lower sales numbers?
        Also batteries need to be replaced (at least some of the cells). This will also have a cost.
        Some of the electric cars has terrible rust problems too.

        With more mature products, everything will improve.

  6. Don Zenga says:

    Good morning Mr. Carlos Ghosn
    I got to differ from you here.

    Let me take Ford Focus as reference vehicle as both gas and electric versions are available in that model.
    It starts with a price of $16,775
    Add today’s average price for battery ($230 / KWh * 30 KWh) = $6,900
    Reduce an amount of $2,000 since motors with 1 speed tranny is much cheaper than engine with 6 speed tranny.

    And the net price comes to $21,675.
    But the Focus Electric is priced at $29,120 and sold only in few states. Naturally sales will be minimal, Leaf also sells at the same price level, but sold nationwide and hence its sales are around 1,000.

    How come Tesla is able to sell expensive vehicles at such a high volume and that too in fewer states. Here are few reasons.
    * Price is appropriate.
    * Supercharging facilities.
    * Multiple trims with different ranges.

    Please make the Leaf Gen-2 with at least 2 range options like 40 KWh and 60 KWh. Start the 40KWh version at sub 30K price. Then see how the sales skyrockets.

    1. mx says:

      Performance.
      Also, a clear commitment to the vehicle platform for the foreseeable future.
      ( Vs. Ford’s Never Get to Version 2.0 )

      1. Mint says:

        Very good point about performance. It’s complete stupidity to not make EVs have good performance. People pay so much to upgrade to a bigger engine when buying a gas car, but for an EV the additional cost is almost nothing. I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but when you see the decisions made in non-Tesla EV offerings, it’s clear that they’re not serious efforts.

        The Model 3 will hopefully wake them up.

        1. stan1 says:

          It is also weird not to highlight the very smooth drive train characteristics which customers pay top Dollar to buy in upscale models. You’d think they’d recognize these characteristics in their boardrooms and be able to design compelling products based on them. But oddly most of these current plug-in vehicles are underpowered econoboxes with goofy looks, higher prices than competing ICE models, weird layouts, pitiful seating, poor visibility, limited range, slow recharge, etc. It is almost as if these firms are purposely hamstringing their plug-in products…

    2. philip d says:

      I think your math proves that at least some of the automakers are baking in extra profit into their EVs by simply adding the federal tax incentive to the actual cost.

      Subtract $7,500 from the Focus EV MSRP and you are close to what your math says it costs them including their profit.

      1. Don Zenga says:

        U got it. Automakers pocket the entire $7,500 rebate. The battery price has come down from $800/KWh in 2011 to $230/KWh in 2017.

        They better look at Tesla.
        Tesla start with Model-S 40 KWh at $57.5 K (160 mile range) and now they are selling 75 KWh at $70.0 K (265 mile range).

        Of course other companies also reduced the price.
        Leaf from $33K for 75 mile range to #30K for 107 mile range.
        Focus-EV from $40K for 75 mile range to #30K for 115 mile range.
        eGolf from $36K for 83 mile range to #30K for 83 mile range.

        But this is not in correlation with the battery price decrease.

        Still Nissan need not worry as they sold only 100,000 Leaf’s in USA and it will take another 4 years to hit the 200,000 mark if they sell 2,000 Leaf’s / month starting with the next gen model.

    3. Doggydogworld says:

      Don – your math is faulty. The FFE is equipped similarly to a $20,775 SEL, not the 16,775 stripper model you used. (FFE is missing a few SEL features such as moonroof but it has some stuff such as NAV & remote start which are optional or unavailable on the SEL).

      Also, there is almost no drive train savings at the low end. You save a few hundred on the motor and similarly on the transmission, but you give it back with the inverters, cabling, on-board charger, etc. At FFE volumes the electric drive train probably costs more than the ICE. The math works much better in the 400 hp range….

      1. Don Zenga says:

        I am not talking about just the motor and tranny, but the entire set of components. Yes motors with 1 speed tranny, inverters, charger, cable all put together is $2,000 cheaper than engine with 6 speed tranny, radiator, fuel tank, exhaust pipe, catalytic converters and so many other components.

        Ok, we can agree on the $4,000 diff between the stripped down version, still it should come to $26K and not $30K.

        And why not they sell a stripped down version of FFE at $22K.

  7. James says:

    @Don Zenga

    You are right but it depends on many factors.

    Even with the difference the TCO is lower !

    Greetings from Vienna

    https://www.facebook.com/ELECTRIC-CARS-World-News-179507768868062/

  8. Threader says:

    How about pricing EVs without incentives? So when the incentives disappear the price of the EV does not need to be adjusted. This strategy will make early adopters adopt even earlier.

    1. Alan says:

      Or leave the incentives in place until battery prices come down enough to offset the removal of incentives, thus not destroying the EV industry before it really gets off the ground ?

      Which is basically what is already happening !

      1. Ziv says:

        The OEM’s are trying to get paid back for their development costs of electric vehicles in just 6 or 7 years.
        When the credit gets cut in half next year I would bet that the prices of the Bolt and Volt get reduced by $3000.

  9. pjwood1 says:

    Carlos misses the elephant, of infrastructure.

  10. FISHEV says:

    “People that truly want to help the environment may splurge, or those with enough extra cash to do so, but, in terms of the mass population, there’s still a long way to go. ”

    I think Ghosn has it exactly right. People who want to do the right thing is further reduced by people who can afford to do the right thing.

    The battery is going to make EV’s a lot more expensive than an ICE car for the foreseeable future to 2050 by which time per climate science we have to have cut transportation emissions by 80%. Which means 100% EV sales by 2035. A 400 mile range EV with a battery pack that costs $2,000.

    Currently it is a $10,000-$12,000 cost differential plus the charging time issue which is somewhat counter by the charge at home benefits.

    1. Kdawg says:

      “People who want to do the right thing”
      —–
      Not saying buying an EV isn’t the right thing, but we need to send the message that EVs are just better cars. People should know that too. So you can do the right thing, and own a better product.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Bingo.

        Obviously that is the route Tesla has been taking and their brand has been rewarded with it so far. If you asked the average person who makes the “best” electric car, they would say Tesla (and hopefully not Toyota Prius).

    2. randomhuman says:

      Ehm I don’t think that EVs will still be more expensive in 2050. That seems like a ridiculous statement. The tipping point is around 2020 to 2025.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Indeed.

        FISHEV is an anti-EV FUDster. Here he’s playing the “concern troll” card.

      2. FISHEV says:

        “The tipping point is around 2020 to 2025.”

        Current best price per kWh is $125 which is LG to GM which makes a 400 mile 100kwh battery system . For an EV to be competitive it needs to be around $12,500 vs. an ICE engine/transmission $2,000. So the price per kWh needs to be $2 per kWh and that is not happening in 2 years, it’s not happening in 8 years.

        That’s why Ghosn is right, EV’s need a government subsidy to make up that cost differential so everybody who wants to do the right thing emissions and global warming can afford to do it.

  11. Malcolm Scott says:

    Feeling hurt about the Australia reference, but so true.

    Australia defines a market where there is no meaningful support for EVs, and hardly a discussion about the possibilities. Tesla sells well and captures mind share everywhere as though Tesla is EVs (frustrating). Outlander PHEV sell ok but suspect that Mitsubishi is taking a long term view after they made the wrong call on pricing with the iMiev.

    I can understand the hesitation by Nissan. The Leaf ended up at $40k for 2012 models, and still sales were very slow. All snapped up quickly second hand at around $25k though. This does not inspire much hope for Version 2, Ionic that is supposed to come next year, nor Renault that has been on the edge of committing for some time.

    I just don’t see how a $25-35k EV in the US will sell well in Australia. Our cars are generally expensive compared with the US, but not in the $20-25k range where there is huge competition that includes Chinese brands. How does a $45-50k EV sell against this?

    Don’t mistake the huge home solar take-up as we being all green. It’s driven more by economics – our grid electricity is expensive and our solar installs are very low price compared with what I see posted in the US (we are $1/W installed average price for 5kWp and greater). Payback easily 5 yrs or less.

    Volume sales of solar pv has really driven down the price of rooftop solar. I wish we could do the same with EVs. Working on it the best I can.

    1. Alan says:

      How much does electricity cost in Australia ?

      Here in the UK I am paying roughly 10p per kWh ($13c) but generally its around 13-15p ($15-18c) which I expect to pay from next year.

      1. Alan says:

        Fuel here is nearly $7 a gallon so an electric car can offset the higher price over 3-5 years but the limited range is what is holding them back from taking off big time.

        Hopefully the Leaf 2.0 will kick start the transition if they don’t price themselves out.

        1. Nix says:

          “limited range is what is holding them back from taking off big time”

          Sounds like they should get a PHEV instead of a pure EV, and drive everywhere their gas car can go.

          I realize the PHEV choices aren’t that huge, but the whole range thing sounds more like an excuse than a reason. If range were really the only problem, PHEV sales should be through the roof.

    2. mx says:

      Than you need to get into Politics.
      Bad Policy, in the USA is Driven by Koch Money.
      If you’re worth 88 BILLION dollars you can do global damage.
      Funny how Repub US policy positions suddenly get exported globally?

      Secondly, get off carbon. Switch electric suppliers.
      And get out of carbon stocks. Get into a No-Carbon ETF, like ETHO.

      Third, increase the efficiency of your home and appliances.
      This just pays for itself with the security of government bonds.

  12. Rad says:

    Always look for the ulterior motive. Perhaps Ghosn doesn’t believe this, but is hoping for incentives to be extended. Definitely good for the EV producers. Like ExxonMobil saying it will go broke without billions in subsidies.

    1. mx says:

      He should sex up the Leaf: More Horsepower, better suspension, better handling. Then, he’d see more sales.

      Also, the Leaf currently doesn’t have the modern safety systems like crash prevention. That’s what dropped the leaf from contention for me.

      1. Alltesla says:

        Range,range,range

    2. FISHEV says:

      “Like ExxonMobil saying it will go broke without billions in subsidies.”

      Ghost isn’t saying Nissan will go broke, just that it and other mfgs will sell many EV’s or even high MPG ICE vehicles with low gasoline prices and not EV/mpg subsidy.

      1. rad says:

        Perhaps bad example. Yes, Nissan will not go broke without subsidies. I believe Ghosn is just trying to get them extended.

  13. Toni says:

    Speak only for your carsa Carlos. There are manufacturers that don’t make their cars ugly and slow on purpose.

    1. Stimpy says:

      Exactly!

      Nissan has literally the ugliest production car on the road with pathetic range vs the current competition and the lesson he takes is incentives are needed for electric cars? That’s flatly ridiculous and disingenuous at best.

      Put the Leaf drivetrain in a Murano with a competitive 200 miles of range and watch the sales skyrocket, incentives or not.

      This is not rocket science!

      1. wavelet says:

        The Murano? ROFL.
        It’s a big, heavy (the ice version is 700lbs more than the LEAF, despite having no battery), tall midsuze vehicle compared to the compact LEAF. Aerodynamics are atrocious. It would need something like a 80Kwh+ battery to get a range like the 30kWh LEAF’s, and more than that for highway speeds (and a much beefier motor as well). I doubt it can be sold for <$60K in the near few years.
        Americans need to get over the SUV craze. SUVs and EVs simply don't combine at reasonable prices.

        1. wavelet says:

          Oops, I meant 80kWh+ battery for the 200mi range you mention, not the 30kWh LEAF’s range.

  14. Someone out there says:

    Of course, the point of the incentives is to kick-start the market. However, Ghosn is ignoring his own responsibility to produce desirable cars. The LEAF was interesting in 2010, in 2017 it is outdated. There is only so many people that will accept an expensive 80 mile car.

    The minimum target today should be 200 miles to address a larger market and by 2022, 300 miles will be the norm. At that point technology should be good enough to support all segments of the market. Then electric vehicles will be aggressively competing with ICE cars.

    With regards to fast charging, yeah it is coming. Just look at the rapid deployment this far. In just a couple of years it has gone from a handful of of charging spots to thousands. Yeah it takes time but you can’t expect such a large system to pop up overnight.

    1. mx says:

      I’d take the BMW i3 REX solution.
      110 miles of battery, and then a range extender for Rural America, over 200 miles of battery range.

      We need an Affordable i3 REX.

      1. William says:

        The complexity of the i 3 REX is the cost differential that makes it a bit pricey for cost conscious car buyers. Now, Leasing a i 3, can in some places be good deal.

        1. Nix says:

          I thought the REX was only around $3-4K extra? Not that much on a 50K car. Are my numbers out of date?

      2. randomhuman says:

        BMWs are always more expensive…

  15. WisdomLost says:

    You have to pay people to buy a lesser product. Until the purchase price matches the useable value of the vehicle, it will not sell.

    EVs have a lot of promise, and recent EVs like the Tesla models have proven that they can perform and be stylish. However, even with performance and “extras”, there are drawbacks.

    Until range and recharge time are improved to put them on par with ICE-powered vehicles, you will not have apples-to-apples sales. Even with substantial incentives, today’s EVs require too many concessions in my daily life to be considered as a daily driver. I will need a very low price to purchase a vehicle that cannot fulfill my requirements.

    When range and refueling match my conventional vehicle, without sacrificing too much in performance, I will happily jump onboard, even with a slight premium. Fuel savings will make the premium bearable. But my daily drive is not worth sacrifices without real benefits to offset.

  16. F150 Brian says:

    Hate to sound like a broken record but I truly believe that the EREV solution is the right one.

    Build the vehicle architecture with a battery about 1/3 the size of a “full” range BEV and add a generator (like i3 REX or Volt.

    As battery tech improves, the same footprint for the battery will have more and more capacity, meaning the generator is used less and less until it can be removed entirely.

    This gives freedom, peace of mind and the opportunity to go green whenever charging is available.

    Short of OPEC coming out and saying they don’t have any more oil, there will be a multi-decade transition period before the ICE age ends.

  17. insider says:

    better place! Remember?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I remember it had a business plan that guaranteed failure from the start. The startup costs for a network of battery swap stations were much, much too high to ever recoup by selling monthly subscriptions, and the cost drove the price of those subscriptions up so high that the (Project) Better Place cars lost the main advantage that PEVs (Plug-in EVs) have over gasmobiles, which is the significantly lower cost of electricity vs. gasoline.

      So what does that have to do with what Ghosn said here? Not much, as far as I can see. In another few years, PEVs should be able to compete with gasmobiles on cost, no government subsidies required.

      And DC fast charge times will continue to come down, as they already are doing. The advantage gasmobiles have in taking only a few minutes to fill up will become less and less important in the near future.

  18. Warren says:

    Gad! I really hope Tesla is a huge success. The last thing the world needs is another religion…Tesla died for our sins!

    1. Kevin C says:

      Amen Brother😁!

  19. apkungen says:

    He is right that they don’t sell a lot and that they wouldn’t sell at all if there were no incentatives. BUT that is because the EVs at a “mass marcet price point” of today suck!

    I seriously think that I would be able to make more competative EVs if I had a couple of 100 million, bought a VW Passat or a toyota aygo, sold the transmission and inserted some in house assembled batteries bought from Panasonic and a drive train.

  20. W. Baker says:

    I like the plug-in option for now, although it makes little sense for the long run. But, my Chev. Volt and solar panels allow me to drive > 50% on solar, even with extensive travel. Subsidies made this possible alright. Here in the US we had huge subsidies for fossil-fuel industries in the past and still today. Now it is essential for our own survival to subsidize a rapid transition to plug-ins and full electric cars. Please do so to save the world’s climate!

  21. G2 says:

    Was this statement made in 2013?
    Seriously.

    1. Nix says:

      ^^This

      I think everything he said was absolutely 100% accurate in 2011-2014. Less accurate in 2015-2016. And even less accurate by the end of 2018.

      I think the right way to read his comments is to put them on a sliding scale, where each year the impact of much of his points continue to shrink.

      With that said, I do agree with him that many of his points continue to have some impact, even as the severity of the impact keeps shrinking each year. There is still definitely a need for incentives, even if there is less need each year.

  22. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I see Ghosn is continuing his campaign of pessimism regarding the EV revolution. Amazing that people are still listening to him repeat the same things over and over again.

    Well, altho I hate to say it, regarding the overall global market for light passenger vehicles, he is correct. He is, of course, ignoring the fact that Tesla is achieving much success in its carefully chosen market segments, and hopefully will achieve similar success in a lower-priced market segment later this year, with the Model 3.

    Yes, we really do need governments to continue “priming the pump” of the EV revolution for a few more years, as EV tech continues to improve and continues to become more competitive against gasmobiles. Just when will EVs be able to compete on a level playing field, with no need for subsidies? A lot of people are now saying 2020. I hope it does happen that soon!

  23. Terawatt says:

    He’s right, except I’m pretty sure it’ll happen even without subsidies, just more slowly.

    Unlike the others, Ghosn actually skips the nonsense and tells it like it is from the perspective of a business. This is how an ethical business leader should behave: He doesn’t say if we ought to have electric cars or not, but he says what’s needed if we do want it.

    If his companies weren’t simultaneously lobbying against emissions regulations – but they are – I’d say they were doing nothing wrong even as they sell more and more SUVs and trucks…

  24. Ron M says:

    Battery costs are dropping mileage is increasing, charging stations are becoming more abundant.China and India have plans to dramatically increase the number of EV’s that are required to be sold in the country and some countries are setting dates to when only EV’s can be sold in the country.
    So EV’s will continue to be strong and become even stronger force against the ICE.

  25. Murrysville EV says:

    I agree with him completely.

    Without incentives, I never would have gotten my former 12 Leaf.

    Without EV price adjustments after incentives go away, most people will just do the math and buy a gas car to save money.

    For me, the big factor remains EV depreciation. I’m cautiously optimistic on the Model 3’s depreciation, but losing 75% in 3 years (yes, *after* incentives, like my Leaf did) doesn’t interest me.

    1. menorman says:

      Yes, EVs are still in the lease phase for those who don’t plan to make it a ten-year purchase.

  26. James says:

    Goofy, underpowered, more expensive variants of the same, but cheaper, cars will not sell without subsidies. I can guarantee that Tesla could now sell their cars subsidy-free.

    The problem is that old-school car companies won’t upstage their high-margin gas cars, therefore they keep giving us milquetoast EV’s. It’s why they will slowly die, like the Blackberry phone.

  27. Brave Lil Toaster says:

    I get the impression that this is coming from Norwegian sales, among other metrics.

    The fact is that Norway is pushing the cars harder than anyone else, so Ghosn has come to this conclusion.

    But what he fails to realize, I think, is that consumers are very much in favour of EVs…

    IF AND ONLY IF they cost the same as gas cars. (Like they do in Norway) Their low running costs present a clear advantage when this is the case. Otherwise, you hear the common refrain “$X,000 dollars buys a lot of gas” on showroom floors.

    Until the day that EVs are on par, consumers are going to keep saying that. Even if they can get 200+ miles on a charge, even if quick charging is fast and thick on the ground (like it is in Japan and the UK and Lithuania). These things just don’t matter until any significant portion of consumers have the cars in their hands. Then they will matter, and the demand for this will drive those responsible to finally clean up their act in this area.

  28. menorman says:

    I don’t completely agree with him, but Ghosn does have a leg to stand on since Nissan did go in pretty strongly on the Leaf. Teslas are a special case as the darling of the EV industry and is somewhat immune to a lack of tax incentives, but the EV market in general will still see some lag as a “niche” market, at least until the sticker prices are similar, without the tax incentives in place.

  29. notting says:

    Why not being honest in the title: EV sales are thwart by too small range and too slow charging (should be 100%).

    notting

  30. vdiv says:

    Ghosn has caught something from Bob Lutz, hope it is not really contagious.

  31. Peter says:

    I think people miss the financial part here. How doesn’t want to save money? How wants to give there money to terrorists ? Can you make your own oil at home ?
    Sure you have to make a investment and pay a lot upfront. But if you work the numbers you see that you are financially the winner ! Environment will also gain from this as a side effect. (Depends how you see on it). So even without subsidizing EV it is a jackpot to buy a EV and solar roof.

    1. John Doe says:

      In a country like Norway, a small EV will probably be economical.
      People that live in a place where they have to pay to park, and have toll roads and so on will save money with an EV.

      If they live in a place with free parking, no toll roads and don’t drive far – a small cheap gas car will be cheaper.

      We have cheap electricity, so a solar roof will take about 25 years, before it starts to generate profit. Teslas roof that is.
      Ugly cheaper versions will take shorter time.

      But look at the global solar sales. They go through the roof.
      I hope Tesla sells all they can manufacture.

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