Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn Won’t Say It, But He’s Thinking It

DEC 5 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 70

Nissan-Renault's Carol Ghosn

Renault-Nissan-Misubishi’s Carlos Ghosn

“I told you so.”

We wish we could say those words came directly from Ghosn’s lips, but they did not. He won’t say it, but we all know it’s what’s in his head. And, he basically said it with a whole lot more words. He did admit about other automakers:

“Now they come. Everybody’s coming. The reality appears more clearly to a lot of people today.”

Although Ghosn wasn’t first with electric vehicles, he believed in it early on and it has paid off. He invested $5 billion back in 2010 and 2011, despite critics’ disapproval. Other automakers stood aside and waited, but now they all seem to be jumping on the bandwagon. Ghosn shared:

Nissan LEAF - Carlos Ghosn

2018 Nissan LEAF

“People said, ‘Yeah, but you could be wrong.’ But I knew that the constraints on emissions were becoming heavier. There was no way … we could solve all these limitations technically through gasoline engines and diesel engines or even hybrids. We needed to move to something more radical, like electric cars.

For me it was obvious. And I said, the first one who was going to move in this direction was going to benefit a lot, not only in terms of brand, but in terms of the advantage of mass-marketing the electric car.”

Today, Ghosn is no longer CEO at Nissan, he is in charge of three major automakers: Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi, as well as all related sub-brands. Just a few months back, he revealed his six-year plan for the group, which includes a minimum of 12 new global EVs over six years.

Due to the success of the Nissan LEAF and Renault Zoe, Ghosn believes the group has an advantage. This is not only due to experience but also because a tried-and-true platform is already in place. He continued:

“The knowledge we have today with the Leaf or the Zoe is extremely precious because we know how people use electric cars, what they need and what are the problems. This will allow us to prepare a much better generation of electric cars coming in the next six years.

These 12 are not, ‘This is our first venture’. No, no. These are cars coming to take an important position, and they will be profitable, with cost targets that are based on reputation and best of technology.”

The CEO says the three automakers will share four platforms through which nine million EVs will be produced and sold by 2022. He said:

“Now we’re saying: One platform. One set of batteries. One set of motors. We’re going to go together because our objectives are mass marketing and profitability.”

Though Ghosn won’t say, “I told you so,” he has admitted that he does feel some vindication since the proof of his EV support and beliefs is coming to be.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault

Tags: , , ,

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70 Comments on "Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn Won’t Say It, But He’s Thinking It"

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Zbig

He was right.

L'amata

He was right & everyone knew it including the auto makers that are resisting EV’s for the more profitable ICE cars . The Bobs of the world Lie like crazy about EV’s to derail others from building them Because of BIG 0IL involvement. Once the EV Battery technology Progresses and advances they will be cheaper to build and to Buy and they can still make money. Just like Musk Said Long Ago..

mx

I didn’t think you were right about an auto-oil conspiracy, but, check out the “Options” you get from Volvo, and the German automakers.
1) Tiny batteries
2) Electric motors tied to the Largest most horsepower power plant they build.

These two facts don’t add up for environmental benefit.
It’s like they’re literally trying to kill any incentive or desire for these vehicles, by building them to deliver no benefit.

John Ray

The key word here is “global”.

Someone out there

Carol Ghosn? Is that his female alter ego? How progressive!
(First picture caption)

L'amata

Yea , Just like Carol Shelby….lmao

Kdawg

She sounds hideous.

Victor

i see what you did there…jake from state farm!

MikeM

Wooo! She’s hot !

Thaddeus

He was right. Now he just has to get more into long-range EVs, like Tesla has always done.

The upcoming 60kWh Leaf for the 2019 model year is a good start.

Gasbag

If you need longer range opt for a Bolt and be one of the few and proud. What Nissan needs more than more range is faster charging.

Thor

And what the Bolt needs is faster charging.

Five Electrics

Through Nissan’s experience, he knows better than to in-source battery cells, that’s for sure.

Jake Brake

This is the real headline.

Nick

Why’s that?

Vertical integration can save money.

John Ray

It can. It also increases risk, reduces flexibility, raises capital and overhead costs can ultimately wind up costing far more than it saves in unit cost.

mx

Well, yes, you have to hire qualified people, or don’t try.

Pushmi-Pullyu

He’s talking about Nissan teaming with NEC, creating subsidiary AESC to build battery factories to supply the Leaf, but recently (and foolishly) selling that subsidiary off to Chinese battery cell makers in favor of buying batteries from LG Chem.

Well, it won’t be long until Nissan regrets that decision and will have to either buy back those same factories or build new ones!

One of the many things that EV bashing klowns like three-or-f?ur-or-Five Electrics are in denial about is that the growth of EV production will soon outpace the growth of battery suppliers’ expansions. Tesla’s growth rate has already surpassed Panasonic’s ability to deliver, even though Panasonic the #1 EV battery cell supplier worldwide!

Thanh Lim

I’d have to say that it was foolish. It was a calculated move because yes, he _will_ have to build batteries one of these days.

The problem right now is that batteries are not commodity items and incurs a hefty risk. It also gives them flexibility in switching to someone else if their batteries are better suited for their cars. It also shifts burden of battery problems to someone else for quality problems, given a service level agreement.

Now, once batteries are more of a commodity, where you can get 200+miles by a lot of people, then you look at reducing costs, as the risks have been flushed out in terms of battery chemistry, etc.

He needed flexibility and reduced battery risks, and that’s what he’s banking on until the day when he can just make standard, high density batteries.

Was one of the first, but implementation leaves much to be desired. If all other MFR give out free charging with crappy charging EV like Leaf, EVs would die yet again. SparkEV gave some hope, but died again with Bolt’s crappy and free charging. It’s a wait-and-see game now.

Tom

I hear the first shipments will be to San Diego to tie up all the public chargers.

Clive

Bitter as usual about free charging

Maybe it’s time for a new ride spark

Michael Will

He SparkEV, if you like I can give you my tesla referral code, get a Model S with free supercharging for life 🙂

I might go for Tesla 3 IF they get rid of all free charging. Hopefully they will get rid of free charging by the time my “number” is up in couple of years.

Dav8or

What’s your beef with the Bolt? That it doesn’t come with a free charging network?

I’m quite sure what Spark EV it saying is that because the Bolt’s rate of charge is less than satisfactory, it takes a long time to charge, and some Bolt’s may be at a fast charger location for some time til they are done charging, making it difficult to assess for other EV drivers.
HPFC (150+ kW) infrastructure will basically solve these issues. When you have good coverage of multi stall reliable 150+ kW ChargePoint Express Plus fast charger style setups there will be hardly any waiting.

Bolts come with free charging if you drive Maven. Since Bolt is slowest charging EV in the world (lowest C rate using DCFC), and free chargers plug in even when they already have 80% or 90%, they take an hour or more while charging at 10kW or less. This is one reason why one must wait for Bolt at every DCFC in San Diego; they all have Lyft/Maven stickers on them.

Only few free charging Bolts are able to just about destroy the charging infrastructure of an entire city. Now imagine having hundreds of free charging Leafs (hopefully they only sell few hundred Leafs). Things will go fromm unusable to “EVs are dead!” For this reason, I hope the new Leaf fail to sell, at least until they get rid of free charging.

Nick

Just need more chargers, problem solved.

Mil

Carlos Ghosn is the only person from the traditional car manufacturers who actually has some common sense. It’s a shame Nissan still dragged their feet, the original Leaf came out in 2010 (or 2011) but only now are they delivering an updated model 6 or 7 year duration. They had a huge headstart but seems like they squandered that a little. I know there were a lot of internal battles Carlos needed to fight so he was probably up against some heavy resistance within the company. It’s a shame they didn’t trust Carlos as Nissan really could have take a much bigger share of the market.

John Ray

The market is currently around 1% in the U.S. and a little higher elsewhere. He has four factories including the one in China. Nissan isn’t behind anyone.

Dav8or

Sure they are! Nissan is behind in the big, splashy Hollywood reveal parties! LOL!

Pushmi-Pullyu

Nissan most definitely has squandered its lead in selling the closest things there are to compelling and affordable BEVs. It has been seven years since Nissan started selling the Leaf, and unlike virtually every other EV maker, they still are not putting an active thermal management system into their BEVs!

Anyone who thinks this is only an issue in hot regions, or thinks this problem has been solved with the “lizard” battery chemistry, is in denial. See, for example, this discussion of Leaf battery overheating here:

https://speakev.com/threads/30-kwh-leaf-battery-overheating.17691/

Thor

“Nissan isn’t behind anyone.”

… except in battery thermal management technology.

Vexar
Nissan is going to win in 2018 on availability and styling of the 2018 Leaf versus the GM Bolt. The smaller-battery Tesla will eventually come out in 2018, and then I foresee maximum stomping when they hit their full run rate of production. Meanwhile, who is still buying the Toyota Camry and ICE Ford Focus? Based on what OPEC did to cut production last year and that they carry it into 2018, alongside the fact that US strategic oil reserves are down 100 million barrels, I believe that sometime in the summer of 2018 we will see national gasoline averages over $3.25 a gallon. That will be when a slew of hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast and take down a refinery or two, and we see temporary, regional scarcity of oil. Mr. Ghosn’s #1 enemy right now is his dealer network. A $40,000 Nissan Leaf versus the Nissan Sentra at $16,000? “$24,000 sure buys a lot of gas.” Yeah, it buys 200,000 miles worth of gas. What I think needs to happen is that all auto manufacturers intent on selling ICEs and EVs need to bring up their bottom end prices. The problem is that not everyone will do that,… Read more »
God/Bacardi

???

Camry is the best selling car (non-truck) in America…The Leafs styling is slightly less minivan looking than the Bolt, but by no means would you call it “sexy”…You mention the Sentra but the Leaf more closely resembles the cheaper Versa…You mention the charging network yet Nissan has public charging stations at most dealerships and usually includes the “no charge to charge” program…You mention dealerships but Nissan actually pays a separate incentive for the salesmen who sell Leaf…Nissan can’t EV anything performance related until they implement liquid cooled batteries which they seem resistant to do…

Vexar

I like the 2018 Leaf better than the Bolt. I’m not counting on that tax credit much longer, is Nissan?

I don’t know the Nissan line-up all that well, honestly. I recall the Leaf was built on the Versa chassis, originally.

I do not consider dealerships to be public charging locations; minimally, they are only available during business hours. I tried to use one in Fargo, once. It did not go well. I consider public charging to be a J-1772 at a parking ramp, or a CCS/Combo or other DC Fast Charger to be public charging. Nissan isn’t facing this challenge in the US, but other countries are solving it on their own.

I apologize for any misunderstandings. I want Carlos Ghosn to do more than he has. He’s clearly resting on his laurels. I was giving him a to-do list he will likely never read.

Pinewold

In talking to friends kids who have bought low end cars, they understand exactly what they are paying. A $30k leaf with a $7500 credit is within reach at $22500 The $10k in gas savings will make EV’s less expensive. The question is what happens when the credits end, my guess is the prices drop since that is what I have seen on solar credits in MA. People who count every penny understands the real savings!

Erwin

Mr. Ghosn sells an entry-level Dacia Sandero Stepway at EUR 7,450 (VAT included) in Europe. Leaf and Zoe have a long way to go.

georgeS

He was way ahead starting his own battery manufacturing which he now has sold to a Chinese company.

Kdawg

I won’t buy a Nissan EV w/out a proper battery TMS.

Gasbag

In a few years (3-5) ESUs won’t need a TMS. Faster charging is desirable in order to mitigate the need for a larger capacity (More expensive) ESU but faster charging creates a bigger thermal challenge. Today’s tech requires compromise and striking a balance between price, range, and recharge time.

Pushmi-Pullyu

ESU = Energy Storage Unit?

It’s hard to see how plug-in EVs could ever get along without an active thermal management system. Hopefully within a few/several years we’ll start seeing batteries that have much lower resistance and so can be charged much faster without overheating, but that will just result in ultrafast charging, so they’ll still an active cooling system.

Just guessing here, but I’m guessing that batteries would need to be more than 99.95% efficient at charging before we can hit that sweet spot of something like 300 miles of range from a 5-7 minute charge, without needing an active thermal management system.

I don’t think that’s gonna happen without room temperature superconductors.

Clive

Yes we know you have posted that over and over again please post something new

Pushmi-Pullyu

Not “we”, just you.

Kdawg

Not only do I not know how to fold a fitted sheet, I don’t believe it can be done.

Rhaman68

History reveals many things. Nissan took a huge gamble. First batteries, not so good. They adapted, much better. Gen 1 Leaf, and I own one with a 2017 battery, is ideal for its target: city driving. So is the Zoe in Europe. A trailblazer indeed. But it was Tesla with a superior battery and charging system that raised the bar at a high level. Synergy works! Now, the world joins the fight! And we all shall benefit. Proof? The Chevy Bolt. Not quite a Tesla but better than other brands. Follow the fight! It is interesting!

fotomoto

Was the Leaf a runaway sales success or a model with OK sales partially fueled (pun intended) by heavy incentives along with the engineering embarrassment of premature battery failures?

Hmmm…..

Pushmi-Pullyu

Global Leaf sales topped out at about 60,000 a year, and have fallen since.

Compare to the best-selling cars (not light trucks) on the market, with the Camry leading at 355,204 sales in 2016, and in the #10 spot was the Elantra, with 188,763 sales.

You decide whether or not the Leaf deserves the label “runaway sales success”. Personally, I think that’s stretching the term more than slightly. Looks to me like the Tesla Model 3 is going to be the first plug-in EV to deserve that description.

Clive

We’ll see

Many large automakers, in particular Toyota and Honda, are *still* only seriously committing to PHEVs, no?

Add to the list Ford (FFE still made in miniscule quantities), BMW with its menagerie of 0-16 mile PHEVs, and FCA (500e still compliance while Pacifica PHEV is the high-volume one).

That can still be seen as a tiptoe mini-step.

I guess they want to prove Ghosn even more correct 🙂

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Many large automakers, in particular Toyota and Honda, are *still* only seriously committing to PHEVs, no?”

Not as I see it, no.

Discounting “supercars”, for PHEVs with even moderate EV range there are only (correct me if I’m wrong) the Volt, now with over 50 miles, and the Honda Clarity, with 47. None of the others, with <=30 miles of range, show any serious commitment. What they show is gasmobile makers only willing to sell a conversion PHEV version of one or two of their gasmobiles; a distinct lack of commitment!

Bill Howland

Yes, Carlos Ghosn can be rightly proud.

But I feel more for the people in Arizona who had trouble with the batteries and it took forever for Nissan to do something about it.

DonC

The three established manufacturers which were first into the electric vehicle space were Nissan, GM, and BMW. Nissan and GM seem to be on the same path. They are pushing hard into autonomous vehicles and believe that because of the power demands autonomous vehicles need to be electric vehicles. This is a big deal since the business opportunity in autonomy is dwarfed by the opportunity in electric vehicles. That means the effort will be there.

BMW seems to be abandoning electrics in favor of electrifying its existing models. Apparently it concluded that electrics were too expensive to produce for the price they could fetch. There isn’t any real movement on the “i” vehicles but many existing models are getting hybrid propulsion at a low premium.

As for Ghosn vision, the vision wasn’t perfect since trying to do its own batteries proved a very costly mistake for Nissan.

On a tangential point, having BMW in South Carolina, with two Republican senators, and Nissan in Tennessee, with two Republican senators, may offer protection for the federal tax credit.

DonC

Type. Meant to say the business opportunity for autonomous vehicles dwarfs the opportunity for electric vehicles.

Dav8or

Please explain why a gasoline powered car could not be autonomous. In fact it’s greater range and faster recharge time would make it more ideal for these driverless taxi schemes.

I believe the only reasons they are focusing on BEVs for autonomous cars is-

1) A technology demonstrator. A vision of the future
2) Many large cities around the world are either considering, or have already banned ICE powered cars from their city centers and that’s exactly where they think these automatic cars will work.

Another Euro point of view

+1

JoeInTheUK

The reason EVs are touted as best fitted for autonomy is I beleive the low level of maintenance they need, and the associated long life they will have, lowering overall costs.

I don’t buy the autonomy forecast itself at all for other reasons but they do seem best suited to being operated that way compared to ICE especially since I think very few if any manufacturers of ICE vehicles are looking at going to high levels of autonomy.

Nix

Idling an ICE engine produces exhaust gas that can kill humans and animals. There is a potential for an ICE automated car to get stuck and idle somewhere it shouldn’t. Sort of like when the Bolt test car stopped for a taco truck and wouldn’t go anywhere until the driver intervened.

It is potentially possible that this could happen somewhere that the exhaust gasses could collect, without a driver present to intervene.

There is also a potential for self-charging, such as wireless charging. While gasoline pumps say “Do not leave your vehicle unattended” while pumping gas, and truly automated refueling with liquid fuel would be problematic.

Mister G

Killer autonomous ice vehicles may happen LOL

Stimpy

Gas refueling infrastructure is an order of magnitude more complicated vs an electric plug. I can wire up a 220V plug myself but I certainly won’t rig up a gas pump! Inductive charging already exists, which is a great compliment for autonomous cars.

Also running a gas vehicle in an enclosed space like a garage is dangerous because of carbon monoxide and comes with liability issues. No such problem with EVs

Ron M

I’m predicting that a thousand TM3’s are sold in 12/2017

Get Real

And Tesla has pushed the hardest on autonomous vehicles AND compelling EVs and the pressure they have brought to bear on ALL the laggard OEMs to compete has forced most of them to accelerate their very slow timetables on BOTH electrification and autonomous vehicles.

ModernMarvelFan

Yes, he knew so he ONLY offered 1 PEV from Nissan in the last 7 years.

Yes. he knew so he offered a BEV without thermal protection.

Yes. he knew so he sold his interests in battery plant.

Yes. he know so his 3 companies are offering far more new trucks/SUVs models that are powered by ICE than electric motors…

Yes, talk is cheap.

While Carlos Ghosn is making this statement, why has Nissan only delivered ~12,000 LEAFs from Smyrna, TN of the plants 640,000 produced in 2017? This is less than 2% BEVs, and ignores that other N.America plants produce zero BEVs.

Note the under 2% is down from over 7% of Smyrna’s production being BEVs in 2014. Sad but true, Nissan building fewer BEVs these days.

BRW: looking at November’s InsideEVs data … happen to notice that Tesla delivered ~2x the number of Model 3’s vs number Nissan LEAFs delivered! (346 vs 175) Never expected to see that in 2017 … kind of shocking.

Wondering how fast Nissan can get back up to speed in 2018?

Terawatt

I’ve seen the Smyrna capacity (in the new LEAF infographics from Nissan) stated as 640k/year. But I didn’t imagine it was running at 100% utilization. Where do you get the figure from? A source link would be appreciated.

islandboy

He dropped the ball with Infiniti though! Infiniti continues to snub electric drive and hybrids while Tesla gobbles up market share in the premium sedan/crossover segment. Just last weekend (Nov 26) I saw a story in the auto section of one of the local rags that started, “Don’t bury the internal-combustion engine just yet.

Nissan luxury brand Infiniti is claiming a breakthrough in engine technology that will allow for variable compression for the first time in a production vehicle.”

Infiniti could have focused on a performance/luxury adaptation of the technology found in the Leaf to produce a competitor to Tesla but, instead they choose to fiddle around with a technology that will soon be rendered obsolete.

Anon

Sounds like Pizza-Box Cars. Same electronics / drivetrain, different stylistic exteriors.

Terawatt
Ghosn was not the first to make an electric car, but he was the first car-company CEO to decide they are the future and invest accordingly. However, that doesn’t mean he did a better job than the others. I personally have a difficult time believing that any of them had any problem seeing that electric cars were the future – after all, the oil won’t be there forever. It is a question of timing, really. Perhaps many car CEOs utterly failed to see that being physically able to fuel the cars is not the only constraint on our use of fossil fuels, failed to consider CO2 and other pollutants. If so, Ghosn deserves credit for having correctly spotted things would have to change much sooner than that. But with respect to the timing, I am not so sure Ghosn got it right, or any better than his competitors. He invested $5 billion, and you say “it has paid off”, but it surely has not. Even if Nissan had a profit per LEAF sold of $10k, which they certainly do not, that would only have got them $3 billion back (300,000 cars * $10,000 profit per car = $3 billion). More… Read more »
angelo festa

When solid state batteries become availabe, can they replace the current li -ion batteries? 500 mile range, with a charge time of 5 minutes is very acceptable.