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Carlos Ghosn: it makes sense to focus on electric vehicles, cooperate on fuel cells

The last time we spoke with Renault-Nissan head Carlos Ghosn, at the Geneva Motor Show, he spoke about the 70,000 all-electric vehicles his company’s have sold to happy customers and how these vehicles are just the beginning of the EV era. Speaking at the New York Auto Show a little over a month ago, Ghosn went into detail about how building electric cars around the world will make them cheaper – and thus more prevalent – for just about everyone. He said:

When we started this effort on electric cars, the first challenge for us was to build credibility for the car itself. Because in the minds of many consumers, the electric car was a golf cart. Zero emission, yes, but everything else was wrong. This first challenge is over today. People driving the Leaf today know it’s a real car. Acceleration, driving performance, silence – everything – it’s a real car. They still complain. So, all the people who bought the Leaf are very happy. But a lot of people are testing the Leaf and not buying it. We asked them, why are you not buying the car?

There were two main answers: high price and worries about charging infrastructure. In the US, Nissan dropped the base price of the 2013 Leaf by $6,400 earlier this year and Ghosn said Nissan will “continue to reduce the price as a function of the cost.” This will happen not just because of reduced shipping costs and less reliance on currency fluctuations, but because there are still efficiency gains to be had in the new production locations, Ghosn said. “It’s not finished.”

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