Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn relies on the Chinese market to save the EVs.
Ghosn has invested more than any other automaker into the EV technology, being quite optimistic about the recently launched Renault Zoe in Europe. Ghosn said that industry investments will be supported by the Chinese facilities to manufacture 2 million EVs and plug-in vehicles by 2020.
“This isn’t speculation,” Ghosn said. “China’s decisions are among the most audacious that have been taken by any government.”
Although the European and the US markets have offered generous subsidies for EVs, sales are still far below expectations, three years after the introduction of Nissan Leaf. That is why many automakers put their hopes about the future of EVs in China. One of the main problems for the sluggish sales of EVs in Europe might be the lack of charging networks.
Currently Europe has about 20,000 public chargers, most of them located in Germany and France having only 4,000. Since 2011 Renault has introduced three EVs and last year it sold 16,000 units, while Nissan, its 43.4% affiliate, sold 26,973 Leafs, 20% under the target.
“The electric vehicle experiment is at a critical point,” said Barclays Capital analyst Michael Tyndall. “It needs so many things to align – manufacturers developing vehicles, companies providing charging infrastructure, battery makers investing and consumers accepting the cars at such a rate that everyone in the food chain can make a return.”