Nissan CEO Ghosn: Still “Working” On Price Of LEAF, Plus Nissan Plans New City Car With Renault (Video)

MAR 26 2013 BY JAY COLE 16

It is a going to be a good day for news whenever either of the two most actively invested CEOs in the electric car business are holding court with the media.

Perhaps only second to Tesla CEO in public appearances (and off the cuff remarks), Nissan-Renault boss, Carlos Ghosn took the mic at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan to talk about all things electric.  In this case, the LEAF, an upcoming new EV product from Nissan, and sales/production in China.

Carlos Ghosn, Hand Talker

Carlos Ghosn, Hand Talker

On the matter of the Nissan LEAF, the CEO says that the company is not done with the car now that the 2013 upgrades are out.  Mr. Ghosn says Nissan knows the price and the range anxiety behind the car is still present, and Nissan “knows the solution” and is implementing change, which will see sales of the car “take off.”

Let’s not forget that today we have two main headwinds in front of the LEAF. First is the price of the vehicle. Second is what we call the range-anxiety infrastructure, which is about the same problem. Where am I going to charge the car if I’m going to go for a long distance? It’s clear. We know the solution. We’re working on them – we’re implementing. And I’m sure that little by little, removing these obstacles we’re going to see the sales of the car taking off very quickly.”

Nissan New Mobility Concept Better Known As The Renault Twizy In Europe

Nissan New Mobility Concept Better Known As The Renault Twizy In Europe

And while the CEO is focused on the company’s main product, the LEAF, he also lets slip that Nissan is collaborating with Renault for a new small city car offering.  Does this mean the Renault Twizy will indeed be rebadged as the Nissan New Mobility Concept?  Or is there another car in the works? (please Lord, bring the Renault Zoe to the US)

“The first priority is selling more and more LEAF, making sure electric cars are no longer a niche product, but a segment of the market that is extremely important and one that people like. That’s our first priority.

That doesn’t mean we’re not going to develop other cars. We have other cars coming. We have light commercial vehicles. We’re going to develop a city car with the collaboration of Renault.”

Nissan LEAFs Built And Sold In China Will Be Under The Venucia Brand (and will apparently suffer some unfortunate re-branding designs)

Nissan LEAFs Built And Sold In China Will Be Under The Venucia Brand (and will apparently suffer some unfortunate re-branding designs)


Then the CEO talks about some stuff in China, that few of us really care all that much about (if we are being honest), but is more than important to the Renault-Nissan alliance when they are looking at the bigger picture:

“We are going to localize the LEAF in China, but it’s going to be under a Chinese brand that is managed, by the way, by our company in China. And we want to be in the leadership position in China. When the government has said that they want 2 million electric cars in 2020 in China, we will do everything we can in order to be in the leadership in this important position. This means you can expect to see the new electric cars in Nissan to be localized very soon.”

One thing is for sure, Nissan-Renault is all-in on electric vehicles.

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16 Comments on "Nissan CEO Ghosn: Still “Working” On Price Of LEAF, Plus Nissan Plans New City Car With Renault (Video)"

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Nissan would sell more Leaf’s if the body style looked more like the ZOE. Just changing those protruding headlamps to something more flushed with the hood and fender would be a plus.


I disagree. The headlights are very distinctive and I like them. If anything needs changing, it is the rear of the vehicle.

I’m kind of surprised. Most people I have talked to really dislike the front look of the Leaf (including people I know that own it).

The rear does look like it was a style cue from the 2004 Nissan Quest.


I think that both should be more streamlined. The headlights, while serving a function (reducing wind noise at the side mirrors), are just ugly to me. But the rear of the vehicle is just unforgivable. It’s neither attractive nor functional.

Zoe is a tiny car, not a lot of room in the rear seats, from the reviews I have read

It also apparently does not charge at voltage below 220V and current below 16A, so the chameleon charger may have to learn a few more tricks for it to work states-side.

The battery lease model seems enticing, but no one has been able to answer the question about what happens if someone stops paying the lease. Does someone come, lifts your Zoe, and takes the battery away?

“what happens if someone stops paying the lease” – Not much info available, but see here:


Zoe is the size of Fit/Yaris/Fiesta. Bigger than the MINI/500/Spark. I would like to know the Chameleon charger capabilities on single phase 208/240 in the US. But regardless, the new small city car is the Zoe, or it’s a mistake.

I think the point being made is it works fine on anything near 220, but it won’t work on 110 in the states. Whether the thing would still work at 200 is anybody’s guess but as a wild guess I would say, yeah it should because hopefully the thing isn’t too critical for 50hz markets. Its an interesting connundrum since it then wouldn’t work with the default voltage of 100 in Nissan’s home market (but probably would at their 200 volt connection).

There is a third headwind for the Leaf, which is how long will the battery last. I think it is clear that at least in the desert southwest the answer is not long enough. It’s too soon to be sure how well they will do elsewhere.

I expect this to remain a problem at least until they can change their batter chemistry, which won’t be soon.

Agreed, the battery is a weak point, and I would have hoped Ghosn would have put a bit more effort into changing it. But being a Dollars and Cents Guy, he’s probably trying to amortize out the design cost, and hoping the technology will improve, and meanwhile selling millions of the old design before spending more bucks to come up with somethin better.

Methinks they are being smart in trying to penetrate the low end of the market. If EVs are gonna work, they certainly gotta be able to work there. And a thing like the Twizy makes a new urban transportation scheme a possibility. … maybe they could do an ad with a take-off on the Beatles “Penny Lane” with two Twizies in one lane on an urban street in ?London.

Twizy Lane

According to the latest data it looks like the Leaf battery will be fine everywhere but the very hottest places, even some of the Phoenix cars have not lost capacity. I think the cars in question have multiple risk factors. I personally think mine will last ~150K, and if the repacement cost is not too high I will keep the car and repace it, Remember, that is the only high cost failure component, the rest of the car is virtually immortal. As for range anxiety that is more perception than reality, and as chargers spread even the percption goes away. As for price it is already low enough to attract people who can add, it’s more up front and less in operating expense, as gas continues to increase it will become more obvious to everyone that it’s cheaper to drive electric. I think Carlos and Nissan deserve tremendous credit for betting the company on the future instead of clinging to the past.

I don’t see the battery quality as a problem in my neck of the woods (Montreal). In theory, the pack should last 14 years before hitting 70%, but mostly, the MSRP right now for a complete battery change from Nissan is 5000$ (with exchange of old battery pack). If I lived in Abu Dabi where the lifespan is estimated at 3 years, I would reconsider seriously not owning an EV.

I found Ghosn inspirational.