The EV Industry’s Other Rockstar CEO – Carlos Ghosn, Talks Future Cars – Video

NOV 17 2014 BY JAY COLE 33

The United States has Elon Musk for all its domestic charismatic, machismo quotes when it comes to electric cars…the rest of the world has Carlos Ghosn.  He speaks for everyone…at least it seems that way.

Carlos Ghosn Talks Zero Emission With LinkedIn

Carlos Ghosn Talks Zero Emission With LinkedIn

While Mr. Musk overseas about $4 billion worth of sales a year from 3,000-odd EV sales a month, Mr. Ghosn oversees 3 automakers (Nissan, Renault and most recently Russian auto giant AvtoVaz), which combined sell about $140 billion worth of autos year…or about one in every 10 cars worldwide; of those, close to 10,000 EVs per month.

So for a change we’ll feature an interview (with LinkedIn) with the “other” car boss with a cult-like following; and of whom firmly in a plug-in, zero emission future.

The main focus of the video above is asked in this question:

Is there going to be a major shift where the majority of cars are zero emission?  And do you see ride sharing as being part of the future?

“…you need to follow not what the consumer is telling you they want, but what are the trends for the consumer.  Not what they are asking from you today, but what they are going to be asking for you tomorrow; and that is why you need to prepare for it.”

“Obviously when you look at all the constraints on the environment, both in terms of emission and in terms of pollution, and when you see the regulations – where they are going in the United States, in China and in Europe, you know that zero emission cars are part of the cards.  That is the way you prepare for the technology, not because consumers are asking for this today, but because they are hinting that this is the kind of car that they may be wanting for the future.   You need to prepare the technology even if you never know exactly when is the time that this technology moves from a niche product to the mainstream.”

In listening to the interview, Mr. Ghosn also focuses a lot on “connected” and “autonomous” cars as being the next big thing, as persons trapped in vehicles during transportation are going to want to make that time more useful in the future.

Getting back to the icon that is Carlos Ghosn, another part of the LinkedIn interview focuses on his celebrity, the amount of influence he weilds in the industry, and how he manages 3 huge auto makers independently of each other.


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33 Comments on "The EV Industry’s Other Rockstar CEO – Carlos Ghosn, Talks Future Cars – Video"

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Didn’t hear anything concerning EVs in that video.

Indeed. I watched both and there was barely a mention of EVs. Pretty much a waste of time.

I think the only tidbit about EVs is when he was talking about emissions & pollution. So basically he’s making EVs not because people are asking for them, or the next generation is hinting at them, but only because of regulations. Hmmmm, I see a major difference between this outlook and the outlook of the ‘other’ EV celebrity.

Ghosn fooled us all with an under ranged, overpriced adapted Versa (“B” platform) with ordinary batteries. There is no way Nissan spent 5 years and 4 billions developping the Leaf.

I do believe that the Renault-Nissan alliance invested that much money. You need to understand a few things to see it. One is that this is a very large company with lots of established procedures, departments, and so on. A dollar spent at a major auto company is not like a dollar spent in Tesla, where there are people with a lot of authority (Musk obviously but also Straubel, Holzhausen, Guillen, Passin, etc.).

A second point is that Renault-Nissan has invested in scale production at multiple points. The Leaf is manufactured in three plants, the Zoe in another plant, so that’s four total (not including the China joint venture). The NV200 EV and Kangoo EV are important derivatives of both the Leaf and the Zoe, and this is just the main of the first generation product line. I am not even including experiments like the Twizzy.

The truth is that Ghosn has put more EVs on the road than anybody else, in more countries than anybody else. You can argue about the wisdom of prioritizing cost over range, but not about commitment.

Commitment. 0,5% of Nissan sales after 3 years of “commitment” ?

An overpriced car that sales persons are still hiding in the back of the dealership… When they have some…

I don’t know where you got the 0.5% figure from. In the US at least, the Leaf has garnered roughly 3% of Nissan’s sales of cars and trucks combined, and is responsible for 10% of the company’s year-over-year increase. As to your original comment on the Leaf: you got it, approximately, 180 degrees wrong. From an economic, technological, and environmental perspective, the best strategy is the one Ghosn has pursued: start with a generic all-purpose car whose manufacturing is still affordable, and gradually increase capacities and range while being aware of all other consumer needs, rather than look at range as the single be-all end-all. Fact of the matter, most cars don’t move more than 50 miles a day. People are unaware of that? Well, affordable BEVs make them more aware. An even bigger fact: the nearly 150,000 Leaf drivers out there right now, are rather happy with their car – on average, far happier than with their previous ICE – and recommend it or some other EV to their families, neighbors and friends. It’s a good product. Not perfect or superb, but good enough. And considering the multiple challenges and the paucity of major automakers really rising up to… Read more »

Globally .5%.

Want to take a guess how much revenue those .5% EVs garner?

Hint; less than $4B. It takes a lot of twizzies to equal one Model S.


April-September global Nissan sold 2.58 million vehicles.
Leaf has sold at a 6-7k/month pace times 6 months, that’s ~1.5%, and that’s out of all of Nissan products, Infiniti, heavy trucks, etc. etc.

I would not go as far as saying that Ghosn’s is the best strategy. I think it is a strategy that complements Tesla’s.

Both strategies are good, but they result from different executives with completely different backgrounds. Both have had execution issues. The styling of the Leaf could have been more mainstream, and in a perfect world Musk would not be continually falling behind his optimistic Model X introduction dates.

But these are real, ridiculously hard working guys who are working each within their context and challenges, and doing, realistically, about the best job that they could be expected, here in real life.

The contrast becomes manifest when you look at the poverty of ideas and FUD coming out of Toyota, for example, or the microscopic production levels of the Ford Focus EV, or Fiat plainly saying they would rather sell less, to lose less money, and so on.

“The styling of the Leaf could have been more mainstream….”
There’s a reason why the leaf looks the way it does – it was coined in a term called “the Prius effect” by researchers at UC Berkeley:
“Its wonky design instantaneously became a symbol for environmental awareness. Driving around in Prius projects the driver’s identity as a person who cares about the planet, and enjoys new technology.”

Read more:

well said..

Working for Russian industry makes his hands drip with blood.

Great Find MR. Jay COLE! (STATIK) Unlike the clueless commentators above me, Jay, you and I have been following the surging Global #ElectricFueledVehicle Industry since its modern inception with the GM reveal of the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle Concept at NAIAS 2007, just a mere 7 years and 10 months ago, the start of Volt, Leaf, i-MiEV beta releases, a smattering of Tesla Roadsters some 47 months ago and the official launch of #EVs1stWave in November of 2011, as Chevy Volt EREV and Nissan LEAF officially ended limited US beta marketing and national sales began! That famous quote from the movie, “Revenge of the Electric Car” trailer, on Mr Ghosn, says it all… “This Man Wants To Risk It All” So to the newbees with strong opinions, sorry I must be so harsh, but Jay and I have been here since the dark days of 2008, 2009, 2010,2011 and 2012 as #EVs1stWave fought the naysayers, attackers and yes the swarms of #antiEVZombies that pollute cyberspace to this day! lol #EVs2ndWave, sustainable Electric Fueled Vehicles Globally, now involve almost every OEM on the planet and now encompasses every form of transportation from car, truck, van, motorcycle, plane, speedboat, catamaran,… Read more »

Can you tell from your highness, why did Nissan had an EV version of his Altra in 1999 that went for more than 120 miles on a charge and seems to have lost the receipe now?

Profit Maximization?

Carlos and Elon are my EV heroes. Against all odds and the haters in the auto industry, they did what others said can’t be done, and what Toyota still says cant be done. They produced EVs that the public are buying. My Leaf only got 70 miles per charge before I upgraded to the Rav 4 EV, the product wasn’t perfect, but the Leaf is an amazing car, I drove mine for 46,000 miles in 3 years. When Nissan launches the next gen Leaf with a 150 mile battery, look out, they will sell in mass to the masses.

Go Carlos and Elon.

Ghosn speaks so much about “what the young people want”, and autonomous-drive features because he is a businessman, first and foremost. Infotainment and gizmo electronic nannies are profit centers. Nissan is an SUV, gas car and truck manufacturer just like all the other legacy automakers. They profit at the dealer level from upselling and their service departments. EVs actually pose a threat to this business model. So don’t expect VW-Audi, Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, GM and others to just become EV flag-wavers. Tesla is it, boys – Tesla is leading our charge. I give Ghosn credit where credit is due. He is a European responding to European green trends and clean-zone mandates. His company produces a couple affordable city EVs that make BMW and Mercedes look silly. His sells, while theirs sit on lots. Ghosn will have to be pulled into the 21st Century by Tesla just like all the others. If Tesla succeeds, we succeed. He and the others look at us as “early adopters and greenophiles” that substantiate only a tiny niche of his world market. He understands China has major upside and that they have awful air quality in the large cities. Ghosn basically is a businessman playing… Read more »


Sometimes I ask myself if the members of the petro-automobile cartels have not flipped a coin to determine who will do what to greenwash us and make believe of their good will…
Notice that there is only one significant model per company.
The new global big three.
Toyota the Prius
Gm the Volt
Nissan the Leaf

Others are in very small numbers, not really relevants.

But now things *seems* to be moving a little faster.
No doubt it is the Tesla effect…

I want to add that the new Prius and announced Volt have a very small efficiency increase, and a bigger ICE.

So I expect to see a *new* improved Leaf that barely give us 120 miles.
What GM announced with the Sonic EV and what will come out can be very different.

But with the Tesla effect… Who knows?

Did you forget that the Volt and the Prius to a lesser extent are not profitable cars. I’m not sure why you would expect huge leaps in range/efficiency while manufacturers are still trying to bring costs down and increase profit margin. This is especially true for the Volt. Btw, the larger ICE for the GenIII Prius and the Gen 2 Volt are more efficient than their smaller predecessors. 🙂


Toyota- FAIL

Toyota the Prius? you mean the Prius Plug-In?

With its EPA Rated 0-6 Miles, Electric Only Range, I suspect that most owners never plug the thing in to even a 110V AC Outlet.

For the 74% of Commuters, USA, that drive less then 34 miles a day, the Toyota Prius Plug-In is a GASSER!

Citation- Link Goes To Fuel Economy Dot Gov – Compare-


Thomas J. Thias

No I meant the original Prius that was alone so many lost years.

Actually I did not notice that, because it is not true. Nissan is also Renault, Ghosn runs both companies, and Renault has the Zoe.

Moreover, Nissan also has the NV200 van, and Renault the Kangoo EV van. Both of these are very significant because they serve urban utility delivery markets where vehicles rack up far more miles than cars do, day in, day out, and operate at lower speeds ideal for EVs. They save money, greatly reduce local pollution (in most markets they replace diesel vans), and of course have a lower CO2 footprint.

By my count Ghosn is responsible so far for four major vehicles in two families, not just the Leaf.

Considering they have not given us a longer range Leaf or brought the eNV-200 to the USA, I can’t consider him an EV Rockstar.

OK, initial investment was great and the cost-reduction effort was very good . . . but Nissan seems to be coasting right now.

For my Global #ElectricFueledVehicle Industry passionate pal and contributer here, James-



Clearly the more range the Leaf gets the more viable the product becomes. But, also weight and reliability have to be added to the mix.

How about some tasteful aesthetics, so the vehicle isn’t so fugly?

Repeat from above…
There’s a reason why the leaf looks the way it does – it was coined in a term called “the Prius effect” by researchers at UC Berkeley:
“Its wonky design instantaneously became a symbol for environmental awareness. Driving around in Prius projects the driver’s identity as a person who cares about the planet, and enjoys new technology.”

Read more:

I think it is good to have an EV that looks different than other cars (not share the same body as a gas model), but there is no need for it to be ugly. Tesla has shown that a distinctive good looking cars sells. Sells very well.

So far, Nissan has not done anything that would try to push the electric car technology forward. Without Government subsidies Nissan would sell zero zero emission cars. This is just pitiful.

Regardless of ultimate intentions, there are many Leafs on the road and many happy owners. This goes a long ways towards public acceptance of the new technology. The Prius did the same thing for hybrids. If that is all Nissan does then they have helped the EV industry.

I don’t understand why “the media” constantly and persistently ask questions about the “future” of one or another industry from the INSIDERS?! If you ask a car exec what the future of transportation is, he’ll say cars. If you ask an oil exec what the future of energy is, he’ll say oil. Of course they would! You’re not going to be an oil guy and say “the future of energy is solar panels!” You’d get your ass handed to you by your bosses, investors, shareholders, etc.

We need to be asking people who research ALL of the technology in those industries, not the people who WORK in them! If you don’t have a vested interest in any one technology, you are more likely to have an objective opinion on what the future of that industry will look like.