Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Confirms Development Of Affordable Electric Car For China


Carlos Ghson, CEO Renault-Nissan Alliance

Carlos Ghosn, CEO Renault-Nissan Alliance

In China, the government has set expectations high for the growth of the electric car market. The plan is to have five million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads in China by 2020.

The chief of the Dongfeng-Renault parternership, Hu Xindong, explained that the EV market in China is primarily fueled by government incentives.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan boss, pointed out that “The Chinese government wants more electric cars, so we say ‘yes, but the customer wants them to be cheap’ and there is a limit to how much of a [government] incentive they can put on every car.”

He explained that succeeding in the Chinese market means there must be more affordable electric cars.

Ghosn elaborated that regardless of government incentives, most of China’s EV sales are local brands with low price tags. The bestselling of which is the Kandi EV city car, with a price tag of 41,517 yaun ($6,317). The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reported the sale of 16,376 Kandi EVs in 2015.

Renault Fluence

Renault Fluence

Quoting Ghosn:

“The Nissan LEAF (Venucia e30) is sold in China. It is a very nice car but it is selling a few hundred per month. We envision much bigger [sales] than that. We know price is a handicap. For me the solution will be a very cheap electric car. Obviously, however, with very low performance you can manage that. So the question is, what is the best compromise between an acceptable performance and the lowest price possible? This is something that doesn’t exist today and we are willing to find a solution. I bet there is going to be a lot of development work on very affordable electric cars.”

Only 1,273 Venuica e30’s (local version of the Nissan LEAF) were sold in China in 2015. This surely has much to do with the price ringing in at 242,800 yuan ($36,900).

The Dongfeng-Renault Automotive Company plans to build an EV using the Renault Fluence as a base. The car will be assembled in Wuhan, China. However, the kits for assembly will be imported from Korea. Thierry Bollore, Renault’s chief competitive officer, says that he expects sales to be in the thousands of units per month.

We don’t expect to see this cheap electric car sold outside of the Asian market.

Sources: Autocar, Yibada

Categories: Nissan, Renault

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9 Comments on "Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Confirms Development Of Affordable Electric Car For China"

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Same old problem; the limitations of traction batteries are holding back BEV advancement. We are still waiting for The Department of Energy JCESR project to meet their goals and have a light-weight, low-cost, long-range battery on the market by 2019.

Micke Larsson

In for example Germany you can get a Nissan Note for €14k but a 24 kWh Leaf costs from €29k.

The Leaf without battery should be cheaper than the Note to manufacturer so that is a bare minimum of €15k difference for the battery or €625 ($704) per kWh.

If Nissan are not at $200 per kWh at pack level then they are doing something seriously wrong.

The price of the batteries is not the problem, those prices are low enough that there should be super affordable BEVs out there if the car companies wanted.

Brian Henderson

The Nissan Note is a B-Class (compact) vs. the LEAF being a C-Class (mid-size) vehicle. The Sentra would be a better size (wheelbase & volume) comparison, but it is a sedan (C-Class) vehicle.

For reference the Note is similar to a Honda Fit, while the LEAF is similar to a Honda Civic.

Micke Larsson

Okay, I know nothing about Nissan vehicles (except the Leaf) and just took one where the picture looked similar to the Leaf. 😛

Anyway, change to that model and the numbers change a bit but the point is still the same.

EVs are ridiculously expensive. Nowhere near where they should be if priced where they should be for the car + the battery.


Could it be a future half priced Leaf with a 20kw battery? When Renault want to bring this on the market?


They could sell a Zoe instead? Maybe?

I really wish they built a BEV version of the Renault Clio Wagon. That would have been awesome.

Some other manufacturers are using the LiFePO batteries instead, of you design the car to have room for them (since they require more volume) it could work out fine.

The Denza which is built with Daimler is a good example of a LiFePO4 car.


The question is, is there a level of performance between that of a neighborhood electric vehicle and the Western idea of a car that is appropriate for Chinese conditions? Essentially an electrified Tata Nano that can get to 60 mph and has enough torque for passing. What range would it need to have? Do Chinese drivers do a lot of city-to-city driving?

Nissan-Renault have a history of researching low-cost cars. Renault’s original project on this produced the Dacia Logan and the Nissan Versa.


What about the twizy? Cheap, 2 seater perfect for between a scooter and a car. The twizy is perfect for crowded Asian mega cities. Sell it in big enough numbers you could probably get it out the door for $4-6k


We could use a more powerful and affordable battery, some have predicted it for the last 10 years. Maybe in the next 5 years we will have one, then sales will improve.