Renault Nissan alliance to miss 2016 electric car target image

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance admitted for the first time that the electric car industry leader would miss its targets for the new generation of vehicles, as global sales of electric cars are more than four years behind expectations.

In an interview, Ghosn conceded that the market is failing to live up to his expectations. As chief executive of both Renault and Nissan, he has ploughed billions of dollars into electric vehicles and become their most outspoken cheerleader.

“We will not be there,” Mr. Ghosn said. “At the speed right now, I’m seeing it more four or five years later.”

Renault and Nissan, which operate in a global alliance, had previously said they would sell 1.5 million electric cars between them by the end of 2016. Renault and Nissan have together sold more than 120,000 electric cars over the past five years, more than any other manufacturer. Nissan’s Leaf model is the world’s best-selling electric car, with about 85,000 sales so far.

“We have to admit, it is slower than we thought. But it is slower for the reason that we thought infrastructure building would be faster. It is not,” Mr. Ghosn added. “I don’t think the main issue today is the cost of the car. The main issue is infrastructure. It is normal. I would not buy a gasoline car if there were no gasoline stations.”

In markets such as Norway or the state of California in the US, healthy government incentives for buyers and a widespread network of charging points has spurred demand for electric vehicles.

While rivals General Motors, Honda and Mitsubishi have all developed electric cars, and smaller companies such as Tesla Motors have had some success with battery-only models, Renault-Nissan’s commitment has made it a trailblazer within the industry.

Via Financial Times