Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: In “A Few Years” Electric Cars Will Have “Three To Four Times More Range”

JUL 9 2015 BY MARK KANE 62

Nissan CEO:  We Need More Incentives Before Introducing Another EV In China

Nissan CEO still bullish about EVs

Carlos Ghosn recently gave a very interesting interview to The Guardian.

Head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance is still bullish about the bright future EVs, although 250,000 sales milestone falls far from his 2011 prediction of 1.5 million.

Ghosn knows the reasons why people are being relatively slow to buy EVs:

“If there is a price penalty, they just don’t buy. If there is range anxiety, they just don’t buy.”

But there is a solution! Ghosn said that at higher volume, EVs shouldn’t be more expensive than conventional cars:

“This is a scale problem. The technology fundamentally has nothing expensive. If you come to the basic physics of an electric car, it is not supposed to be more expensive than a combustion engine.”

Three to four times” more range is also coming in a “few years”, Ghosn claimed:

““In a few years, we will have three to four times the range [in road cars] and the anxiety will go away,” he says. How long is a “few years”, I ask. “Maybe five to 10,” he says.”

Electric cars already made a big step forward compared to 10 years ago where there was nothing on the market beside some curiosities. Now it’s time for the second step:

“Ten years ago people thought that electric cars would never make it, they thought electric cars were like a golf cart, something slow, bulky, not very attractive,” he says. “Now they see the [Renault] Zoe, the [Nissan] Leaf, the Teslas etc and they think electric cars can be fun. They see Formula E and see the cars can be very powerful and go very fast. The idea that electric cars are normal cars, which is a big revolution from 10 years ago, has taken place.”

Source: The Guardian

Categories: General, Nissan, Renault


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62 Comments on "Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: In “A Few Years” Electric Cars Will Have “Three To Four Times More Range”"

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Lets all hope he can keep the pressure on to achieve that goal.

Since the suppliers come to him, he would know.

A “few years” is 5-10?

I thought “a few” was 2, and “several” is 3.

Five to ten years is…

like an eternity!

Uh, no, two is “a couple”. “A few” is usually more than a couple, and “several” is (or should be) more than a “few”.

That said, Ghosn’s remark would have made more sense if he had said “several”, rather than “a few”. Unfortunately, misuse of the word “few” does seem to be relatively commonplace.

Yep, I’ve seen that a few times myself.


How much is “some beans”?


*nod to Monty Python

Yeah… splitting hairs over word choice seems silly. I always forgive that when the person who does it speaks more languages than I do. I would bet that just to hold the job he has and considering his background… he speaks at least 5 fluently. He came from Brazil… so Portuguese… He is CEO of an alliance between a French company and a Japanese company… so we’re up to 3… oh… and don’t forget Autovaz in Russia and Velusia in China. I’m sure he is a very bright man. That said… we are nearly certain that there is a going away present coming for the current LEAF that pushes it’s battery past 105 EPA miles… hopefully retrofittable to all past releases. Then there is LEAF 2 or Esflow or whatever that should comfortably fit into the 150 to 250 EPA miles range at a hopefully very reasonable price. He certainly knows a lot about the costs of various battery/motor combos and will be rolling out more and more variants over the next few years. If he can get the electric powertrain into more of the portfolio of models in the next 3 to 5 years that would amortize the costs… Read more »

Nissan is no different than any other legacy car maker; they really don’t care what they sell as long as they sell and meet the numbers that satisfy their stakeholders. Do you really believe they care a wit about how their products polluting the Planet? Ever see a car CEO who was an registered environmentalist? Right now EVs are really not on their priority list because fuel prices are low and ICEVs are still selling quite nicely.

It takes government like California to mandate change and a company like Tesla, with smart leadership to buy into the mandate to pressure the others into creating a truly large EV market.

Nissan has created a lot of vapor from selling an minimum amount of EVs.

You really don’t give Nissan and Ghosn enough credit, when other OEMs were barely doing anything they built 3 battery plants and started selling cars all over the world. built an EV from scratch when others were making lame conversions. I think Ghosn is a visionary, the Japanese almost worship him.

Yes Nissan deserves a lot of credit for opening up the lower cost market for EVs. With the highest number of EV sales, Nissan has done a great deal to expand the appeal of EVs, and now with Nissan’s commitment to the 2016 30 KWh Leaf and the Leaf 2 with 200 mile range, it will only get better.
Carlos took on a great deal of risk with the Leaf and no doubt they may still lose money on every one but it is starting to pay off.

You need to watch ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ . I can’t speak to how actually green anyone is. But his words in that documentary show how he was motivating Nissan to get out ahead of what he saw as an underrated future trend. It is clear now that he and Mr. Musk were right.

I can’t wait to see the next gens of all these cars unfold this fall.

10 years is only 1-2 car generation cycles (usually around 6 Yeats/cycle). So 10 years in automotive context is not that mich.

I never would have imagined when EVs started the second generation (tesla, leaf, etc), that the battery capacity problem would be solved first, and the charge rate problem would be solved second.

And I still think you need both.

With this next generation of cars, what I would call the 3rd generation electric (counting from EV1/lead acid) cars, we get closer to gas car replacement.

But getting TO that goal takes a car that charges at 15 minutes or less. For the new 50KWH cars, that means 200KW chargers.

To put it in more direct terms, if Carlos is right, and we have 3 – 4 times the range, we have 3-4 times the charging times.

So then you have charge times to %80 of 1 1/2 to 2 hours to reach %80, using 50KWH chademo.

Nobody is going to take that.

Charging rate is a simpler problem to solve. It will get solved as batteries get larger.

In practice it works differently than you think it might.

When you get to 400-500 mile range for example, you don’t need fast charging at all.

Even around town, with 200 miles, you never need fast charging.

I know it sounds whacky. But once you try it, the reasons become clear.

Exactly. I had a Nissan Leaf for three years and now an i3 for 6 months. I’ve never needed a quick charger or a public charger. Granted I do have a second vehicle that my wife drives daily with an ICE. But for most people as their second car/daily driver, the current 80 miles of range with 240V charging is completely sufficient.

A 200 mile battery with a 240V / 30amp charger at home will easily fill the car over night no problem.

It means the car is not useful for long distance travel.

Actually not.

EVs are already good for long distance travel. All it takes is 300 mph charging rates. Tesla has already achieved this with their superchargers.

Bigger batteries allow faster charging mph, at the same C-rate as smaller batteries.

There is no need to “fill” the battery. Just charge long enough to get enough miles of range to reach your destination (with a 30% buffer).


You still need fast charging at 400 miles of range, but the problem moves from being a battery problem to an infrastructure problem – 400 miles of range would be roughly 125kWh. So if you start charging at 2C, thats 250kW of power, or about 12.5 miles of range every minute its plugged in (initially, it will slow down as the battery fills up). So after 25 minutes or so, you’ve recovered enough range to head on down the road another 250 miles.

But the problem now is the charging infrastructure as well as the local grid that can handle many vehicles charging at 250kW.

ActI ally the grid doesn’t have to change. The same cheap batteries that will make long distance EV travel affordable will enable chargers to dish out lots of power at once.

Tesla has already proven this concept with the superchargers.

If you take a person who currently drives a max of 200 miles and you upgrade their car 500 miles of range, their charging problems are reduced. However, if you sell a 500 mile EV to someone who only bought it because it has what they need–500 miles–then their charging problems aren’t solved. They intend to use that range. When they do, it will take forever to replenish the car.

Miles per minute of charging stays the same. You’re right though, the math for a pit stop on a long trip is hairier with some slower, some not-so-slow Chademos. You don’t know what each one will give you (peak). 25-50kw is the. Once again, Tesla is brilliant to build a network of 90+kw peak charging stations!

Let’s say you have a car with even more range than a Tesla, so you’d need >120kW to do the 30min/80% thing. Well, in that case you can go farther, so you may not even need to stop. 120kW is not a bad plateau to shoot for as an industry. Nothing is lost as batteries get larger.

Since every cell in a battery pack can be charged simultaneously, there is no engineering limit to charging a large battery pack every bit as fast as a smaller one. Tesla has already demonstrated that. Current public chargers are hopelessly inadequate for future generations of long-range EVs. They will quickly become obsolete.

The problem here is that future standards are a moving target. Competition will naturally drive faster and faster charge times, almost certainly to the point that a 300 mile BEV can be charged 90% in 10 minutes… or even less. Until we have both BEVs and public chargers which can charge long-range BEVs that quickly, public chargers will continue to be made obsolete within a few years.

Ideally, the large auto makers would get together and adopt common standards as the need for more and more powerful public chargers advances, as happened in the home video business with DVDs and then Blu-rays. Unfortunately, so far, there has not been any such widespread standard established, but rather competing charging formats.

And we are already beyond a simple engineering problem to get faster charging. Now it requires new standards, new deployments, new networks.

If Carlos is right about having cars with 3-4 times the range “in a few years”, we need to be working on that problem NOW.

OMG. It sounds so hard.

Good thing that Tesla has shown us exactly how to do it, and proven it works. Very well indeed.


I conquer, there has to be a standard for fast charging so that the infrastructure can be installed. It seems logical that the tesla superchager would be chosen, do to the fact that it can cater to evs with 200 miles plus. It seems that tesla has already won the fight in europe, where the mavrix charger is widely used. However, I strongly disagree with tesla’s model. A person should be charged based on the amount of electricity used, plus a flat rate. For example a rate of .20 per KWH, for a car with a battery pack of 50kwh. It would be approx 10 dollars, therefore the company resources could best be focused in further expanding the network. While at the same time it provides funds to pay for the electricity and maintence cost. In do time i expect this cost to be lowered and eventually phased out as the infrastructure is built and the power is generated by solar panels. Thus giving tesla and other partners the funds they need to further develop and expand the infrastructure. Without much need from government help and the product will thus self supporting building upon its success. Therefore, if the gen… Read more »

Scott – That is possible (if the charge rate does not change), however, charging becomes almost a non-issue most of the time in a 400 mile car as you can just charge it whilst you sleep and you only have to worry about charging time if you are planning on driving over 400 miles in a single day. If you do drive 400 miles, chances are you would like a good rest to stretch your legs any how. Like I said, non-issue.

Anyone driving 800 miles without an hours brake is probably going to kill themselves or someone else…

Think about the amount of regen that would be accomplished with an hour “brake”. We would not even need a charger!

There could be exceptions to that rule like a future Google car that drives you all night on a 1000 miles distance while you sleep?

There will always be some roadwarriors who aren’t satisfied until putting 300 miles into an EV takes 5 minutes (same as a gas car). But I don’t think that needs to happen for EVs to explode into the mainstream. I don’t see a need to go much above Tesla’s current 135kW. At full rate, that’s about 400 miles in 1 hour. To get 300 miles, it would take 45 minutes. I would wager than most people would be ok with taking a 45 minute break every 4-5 hours of driving. The issues are getting enough chargers that you can do so where you want, instead of being forced to a handful of supercharging locations. The other issue is getting a battery large enough that can sustain that rate for more than just a few minutes.

IMHO if we had affordable 100kWh batteries that could be charged at 200kW, EVs would absolutely crush ICEVs. Notice that this is about 4x the capacity of the 2015 Leaf, and about 4x the maximum charging rate.


Absolutely right! The 5 minute charge will not be any time soon, possibly never because it just isn’t required (unless racing). To get to 5 minute charging you will need cables so large, the average person could not lift them and the voltage would have to be about 1000V.

Eight inches thick, actually (3″ AWG 2 conductors).

Plus a dedicated substation. For one car. Silly.

How many people really truly need to drive more than 8 hours (400 real world miles) in a day, and the *need a full charge to drive another 8 hours* and oh by the way, stamping foot, need that extra 8 hour range within 5 minutes?

If you do, I promise you that you would rather drive a PHEV, and pay the carbon tax, than pay what it would reall cost to be able to drive 800 all-electric miles in a single day.

Do the math folks.

No, I don’t think we need 15 minutes charging if we have a battery that is large enough. Remember, in their usual daily routing most people drive WAY less than 200 miles per day, much less so 200 miles in one sitting!

Then, because electricity is everywhere, charging time is “hidden” while you are doing other stuff – sleeping, working, shopping at a mall or whatever. You are stuck in the mindset that you have to take your car to a dedicated filling station with regular intervals. This is not the case with EVs at all (well most of the time, as long as you’re not doing a very long trip). The number of times you are stuck waiting for your car to charge will for most people be a couple of times per year. That is manageable.

Right now an electric car (Tesla Model S) has better performance, is cheaper to fuel and cheaper to maintain than ICE competitors. The problem is purchase price.

It is all about battery costs coming down. It will happen but the wait is painful.

I think Tesla is pretty close to solving the battery charging issue. Battery capacity needs to get slightly higher, charging needs to get slightly faster and the number of Superchargers needs to keep growing. I think we’re 90% there already with charging.

Well, in my circumstance and I suspect many others, Charging Rate is at best, a minor issue. With my 2 current cars, most of the time they charge at 900 watts. The default ‘standard’ GM setting works fine for me, although admittedly the cars are charging most of the time, which is the way the electric utility likes it, as it is the most ‘grid friendly’. My traveling inconveniences with my former Tesla Roadster usually involved not having quite enough juice to make the round trip. Living in Buffalo, I could make Southern Tier, or Rochester area Jaunts and not worry about plugging in. Lately I’ve been making many trips to the Syracuse area midstate, and so, with the Roadster, I’ve had to find places to plug in, and make sure I didn’t leave myself stranded. These concerns would vanish with a mere 20% increase in battery capacity. FOrtunately, with the battery as large as it was (53 kwh new, 49 1/2 kwh when I sold it), I didn’t have to recharge for very many hours, and usually never more than 30-32 amps. Now both my current ev’s cannot take more than 15 amps. BUt my ELR regularly gets over… Read more »

Just get it over 200 and have DC-fast charging system that works as fast as the Supercharger. That is all I need.

Anything more and it is just extra weight & extra cost that I’d only use less than 1% of the time.

That’s what I was about to say.

Give me an “affordable” 60 kWh car and some DC fast chargers every 40 miles or so and I’m good to go. I don’t really want to pay for more battery capacity/liability (nor do I want the weight or the diminishing cargo capacity).

/unless, of course, those batteries really do turn out to be suuuuper cheap (like $100/kwh out the door) then, just go ahead and stack em in there.

It’s surprising in a very good way to hear a high-level executive involved with making PEVs talk about the range improving that much that fast. In two years (2017) we’ll be seeing BEVs with double the range; I would not have expected three to four times the range in as little as five years. Of course, he did say five to ten, and I don’t think anyone has the vision to say what BEVs will look like in 10 years. It all depends on how fast battery tech advances.

We’ve seen only gradual and incremental improvement in EV batteries since the introduction of li-ion tech circa 1991. But sooner or later we’ll have another quantum jump, of the sort that happened in the switch from lead-acid to NiMH, or the switch from NiMH to li-ion.

Lensman–Can you provide a link for the slide you show in your comment? Thanks.

I think that competition is just starting to reach Tesla S battery packs. With better price tags.

Meaning they where behind, but now they jump to roughly what Tesla will do with model 3 battery packs.

Lots of car OEMs signal those better bateries. So LG Chem must be close to production.

So its not really 5-10y but 5-10y + X, where X is past few years of developments, that did not yet reached cars.

80 miles *3 = 240 miles
80 miles *4 = 320 miles

Tesla have batteries from the future! 😛

Maybe he mean, 240 miles in price tag of a leaf? Then, why yes! Tesla 3 will show how its done. 😛

50 miles x 3 = 150 (2012 Leaf with 11 bars in summer))

He is correct about a change in mindset, over the perception of EV’s. I think a lot of that positive change, is due to cars like the Model S Dual motor option. Certainly Formula E helps, etc., but as for range, it seems more like a financing game by automakers, than one of technology limitations. The trick is to just get the price lower. The technology that already exists, can NOW get you a 300 mile range car, no problem– if you’re willing to build them.

I do not think that its that simple.

When You actually plot $ per mile for all the BEVs… Tesla is cheapest! Next come Spark (smallest, tinies, with best MPGe).

So its eaither big price tag or compromise on range/ battery pack size right now.

I do agree that others could follow Tesla strategy (big price tag -> big battery pack).

But claiming that best from both is possible right now…

It would also be interesting to know the price of the car box without the battery. I guess a Nissan Leaf without battery doesn’t cost the same as a luxury finish Model S without battery. In fact one we get out of luxury cars chances are the battery will actually be more expensive than the price of the box. In the 15000$ versus 20000$ range.

How about half of that 3x/4x now?

A 160 miles LEAF today would do wonders…

There where rumors about Leaf with 25% improvements in coming year model.

2x is roughly slated for 2017/2018.

So gradual improvements those are.

Good thing is that Tesla may put enough pressure on everybody, so no-one “stretch” improvements artificially.

“2x is roughly slated for 2017/2018”

By then, Bolt and potentially Model 3 will be out.

Of course there was a car company that sold a car with 3-4 times the EV range of the current Leaf way back 6 years ago…..

Tesla Roadster!

But I get the part about the price. Just wanting to point out that it’s already been done a “few” years ago.

Tesla Roadster didn’t have 3x of the (84miles) range. Those are EPA rated range which Roadster didn’t have and it certainly didn’t have 4x the range of LEAF.

Well, I guess I was using the old 75 mile range for my math, not the current 84 mile range. But close enough, when compared to the Roadster charged in “Range Mode”.

Of course if you really want to quibble, the 2008 Roadster will have a 400 mile range, once the new battery upgrade package is out. Well sooner than the timeline Carlos talked about.

“Of course if you really want to quibble, the 2008 Roadster will have a 400 mile range, once the new battery upgrade package is out”

I do. =)

That 400 miles won’t be EPA rated ranges but a Tesla claimed ranged. Model S is claimed to have 300 miles today.

We can say the samething with the so called 240 miles prototype LEAF…

The answer is your electric toothbrush.

You put it in the charger.

Same thing when you go to Costco, the hair salon, or diner at Cracker Barrel.

Just park over the inductive charging plate where you do business. Flip the “fill er up” switch and the charger will go to work while you are shopping, eating, having fun.

End of range anxiety. No need for special stops to quick charge. End of all the time consuming electrical cord plug-in stupidity ritual. End of charger box and cord vandalism.

So what, if inductive charging is only 95% efficient. Who cares!! You will never have to string a cord again…….

Some cities are doing this with buses that have relatively small batteries that are inductively recharged at each passenger stop.

Imagine, getting your car topped off while you are eating at your favorite restaurant, without so much as lifting a finger

Cords are just Soooo…Yesterday

And so much cheaper also!

I would like both, not the one or the other.

We are not quite there yet that we don’t need extra capacity both in battery energy content and supercharger power. What we have with a Model S 85 KWh is able to supply 200 miles at 80 mph but at the maximum speed of 150 mph the range is reduced much further. This is something that happens on a gas car too but since the tank contains that much fuel and can be filled fast it doesn’t give a problem. Of course that 150 mph case only concern some German North to South drivers in reality but it clearly is one that people take as a last refuge against ev. On the other hand having a true 400 miles range at 80 mph is really not an exceptional situation that corresponds to taking the freeway to a vacation destination. So, that would require double the energy which is 170 KWh. Then you also need to factor in the cumulative effect of winter time use and battery aging which both take a 10% extra, so you are at 205 KWh. Still a way to go. On the charger side, if you want to keep bellow 30 minutes, you will need to… Read more »

As for now the Volt is a good decision if there are travels beyond a 100 miles. Also cheap gas slows EV sales. I think EVs are the major reason why gas went down last year. EV sales were doing pretty good until gas went down. However the Volt we have really saves on gas with 1 fill up a month usually 15 to 20 dollars. My previous vehicle an Escape was 50.00 dollars a weak. It was AWD and the best mileage was 22 MPG. The Volt is at 98 MPG. Yes extended range lowers the mileage. However, we still do a lot of driving under 45 miles. I know most individuals do not see the need for EVs with gas being cheap. However I believe electric motors will definitely outperform gas guzzlers

The reason gas prices declined is a result of increased oil production from American fracking…there was too much oil on the market and OPEC did not decrease production. However many American fracking companies have stopped production and are idle until oil prices rebound. EV impact is insignificant, I think EVs make up less than 1% of vehicles on the road worldwide.

Most EVs are good for short trips at low speeds of 35 to 45 MPH this type of EV is called A medium-speed vehicle. People would buy them if they were not illegal, yes that’s right most states do not allow any MSV on there roads only LSV are allowed that can only go 25 MPH or less. Here’s an example California Assembly members Nestande & Medina Introduced Measure AB 225 to make Medium Speed Electric Vehicles legal in California and the Assembly voted on AB 225 (May 16, 2013) and it passed with no one voting against it. Then when it got to the Senate they completely amended the measure and removed any thing that mentioned electric vehicles and changed the measure to a Mobile homes measure. So California a very progressive state couldn’t get these affordable little cars on the road. Why are we so hung up on long range EVs, the day will come when batteries are capable but for now let EVs do what they can without legal obstacles.