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Ghosn: Nissan Can Lead in Mass-Marketing EVs

Nissan will focus on battery electric vehicles (EVs) as a core product and will offer a range of high-quality products that are reliable, well-engineered, attractive and fun to drive, said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in a speech at the company’s annual general shareholders meeting in Japan.

Ghosn said that zero-emissions vehicles were the best solution to address the on-going growth in global demand for vehicles coupled with “the demand for a cleaner planet.” Nissan, along with Renault, said Ghosn, “has an opportunity to be a world leader in mass-marketing them.

When I say “zero-emission” vehicles, I am referring to electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, cars that do not burn oil and release zero emissions into the air. Fuel cell vehicles are promising for the future—and Nissan continues to invest in their development—but the production and distribution of hydrogen is yet much more problematic than electricity or batteries. Because the battery technology is more advanced, we will introduce electric vehicles first.

Without the battery, the cost of the electric car should be comparable to that of a similar-sized car today. The lease of the battery plus the electricity cost should be lower than the cost of gasoline. If oil prices continue to stay at a high level, as expected, the electric car will become that much more attractive.

—Carlos Ghosn

Nissan plans to introduce an all-electric car in 2010 in the US and Japan, and mass-market it globally in 2012. The Nissan-Renault Alliance has also signed agreements with Project Better Place to mass-market electric vehicles in Israel and Denmark in 2011, and is currently negotiating with other countries in Europe and Asia, Ghosn said.

We will continue to develop a portfolio of green technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, including improvements to gasoline engines, clean diesel, hybrids, flex fuels and fuel cell vehicles. In September, we will introduce the X-TRAIL with clean diesel in Japan. In 2010 we will launch the clean-diesel Maxima in the United States and our own original hybrid technology.

—Carlos Ghosn

In remarks at a press conference after the meeting, Ghosn said that he believes electric cars will succeed because:

they are “zero-emissions. The others are not,” referring to hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars. “We believe zero-emission is part of what the global market is looking for and (is) ready to pay for,” he said.

Ghosn said that he hopes to sell 1 million of electric cars a year globally, although without specifying a date.

Nissan Motor, NEC Corporation, and NEC TOKIN Corporation formed a joint venture— Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC)— in 2007 to develop and market lithium-ion batteries for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.

For the next-generation of EV cells, AESC is working on a new cathode material of a nickel-mixed Mn spinel and a graphite carbon anode. The cell will feature an enlarged footprint, but will be thinner to increase heat discharge, and have a capacity of 30 Ah. (Earlier post.)

Comments

Mark_BC

What a refreshing contrast to the recent comments from GM Canada representatives that "there is no single bullet solution to future low emission vehicle technology", or something to that effect, what a load of crap. There is indeed a single bullet solution for 95% of the applications, and that is BEV's, and PHEV's for longer hauls. It's a NO BRAINER.

I will be glad to see GM go under.

Joseph


@Mark_BC

BEV's and PHEV's are two completely different animals, heck some PHEV's are different from other PHEV's. Hence, there is no single bullet. A lot of families depend on GM sticking around. If GM stay's on schedule with the Volt, they will be the first to market with a serial hybrid.

jcmarching

GM already had a good BEV when they finally put NIMH batteries in their EV1 about the time Osama parked a couple jets in the WTC. There are too many oil people sitting on the GM board. They deserve to die. Those GM workers can go across the street and assemble EVs for the competitors.

Thomas Lankester

@Joseph

'If GM stay's on schedule with the Volt, they will be the first to market with a serial hybrid.'
..but 7 years behind Renault
http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=582

Schmeltz

Let's hope Nissan sticks to their word, and brings forth these electric cars.

How did this get to be a GM bashing session again?

Gerald Shields

Sounds like a good deal. However, all of this will depend on gas prices going the way they have been going . . . Up!

kevin

I think this turns to GM bashing because most people want GM to succeed, but they seem to be able to blindside themselves at every turn.

GM has consistently executed pretty bad strategy for over 30 years (look at their profitability, volume, market share as proof)

I think that the thing that made the US the powerhouse it was, was innovation, thomas edison, henry ford etc. This seems to have stagnated to the point where others are taking the initiative.

GM and Ford and Chrysler should get back to the gambling, innovation table, and play some hands, I am sure there are a lot of engineers in those companies who would love the challenge

kevin

I think this turns to GM bashing because most people want GM to succeed, but they seem to be able to blindside themselves at every turn.

GM has consistently executed pretty bad strategy for over 30 years (look at their profitability, volume, market share as proof)

I think that the thing that made the US the powerhouse it was, was innovation, thomas edison, henry ford etc. This seems to have stagnated to the point where others are taking the initiative.

GM and Ford and Chrysler should get back to the gambling, innovation table, and play some hands, I am sure there are a lot of engineers in those companies who would love the challenge

kevin

I think this turns to GM bashing because most people want GM to succeed, but they seem to be able to blindside themselves at every turn.

GM has consistently executed pretty bad strategy for over 30 years (look at their profitability, volume, market share as proof)

I think that the thing that made the US the powerhouse it was, was innovation, thomas edison, henry ford etc. This seems to have stagnated to the point where others are taking the initiative.

GM and Ford and Chrysler should get back to the gambling, innovation table, and play some hands, I am sure there are a lot of engineers in those companies who would love the challenge

I can really see an all EV at this point in time. What happens when you want to take a vacation that is over 100 miles away? Plug in with a 100 mile plus range for now is the best solution and hopefully a batter that can run for 400 - 600 miles. And places you can plug them in. Great move by Nissan. I used to only own Nissans so I would feel comfortable with their technology.

Oops, I can't really see.
Sorry. Should have previewed :)

Mark M

There may well always be a place for ICE vehicles especially with ethanol blends to further stretch out our supplies but the EVs can be for the majority the majority of the time; I'd be happy to drive an EV and rent an ICE for those long trips.

Axil

Electric car enthusiasts don’t let your zeal blind you to the very profound limitations in battery technology. What the world needs is a number of technology breakthroughs to make non fossil fuel transportation doable. When these advances come, you may be surprised at the results.

Ron Fischer

If you have only a BEV for daily driving what do you do for long trips? Easy: RENT A SERIAL HYBRID. One of the wackiest things auto marketing has accomplished in the last 20 years is to push vastly over capable vehicles to the public. Buy what you need for 90% of your driving. If that's a pickup or SUV, great! Otherwise, get something appropriate to your daily needs.

reed

I think its great that someone is going to market mainstream EVs.

However this 0 emissions BS has to stop. Electricty production still/will always use(s) fossil fuels and produces alot of CO2,SO2,NOx, etc.

K

Not a surprise, Ghosn has been hinting for awhile. He is running toward daylight, as the cliche says. Avoiding direct competition with many, many, hybrids.

He needs some of these events:

1) technology and (Chinese) mass production drive down the cost of batteries

2)long range is less important than many believe

3)zero emission vehicles are favored by regulators

GM gets bashed everyday and everyway. IMO it is because Ford and Chrysler aren't saying much. Chrysler seems comatose.

I grow uneasy about the Volt, now slated for 2011 in low volume.

swen

Ghosn's going for a knock-out and Detroit's leading
with its chin. Toyota is being coy. They're in the
match too, trying to pull off a sucker-punch.

Anne

but the production and distribution of hydrogen is yet much more problematic than electricity or batteries. Because the battery technology is more advanced, we will introduce electric vehicles first

Give BEV's a headstart, and hydrogen will never catch up. Is reality finally sinking in?

Lucas

"One of the wackiest things auto marketing has accomplished in the last 20 years is to push vastly over capable vehicles to the public."

Well said Ron,

"core product" vs GM Volt low volume.

Finally a CEO that can see where we need to go.

Larry

I suspect that PHEV are far more practical then pure BEV at this point and with current battery technology. One thing that seems to get missed among those that want BEV (and seemingly hate H2 powered cars at the same time) is that while fuel cells may have a problem with building a new distribution infrastructure, the electric car craze has the exact same problem. Our current electrical grid both in terms of production capacity and in Delivery infrastructure can never handle the proposed load of all those cars. It's the second part, delivery infrastructure, that seems to get missed a lot, and I mean a great lot! The current grid structure is at it's limits right now and if NIMBY has stopped any number of new power plants it's also stopped or delayed a heck of a lot of infrastructure improvement in long transmission lines and high power transmission. Sure some say that we could put a solar panel on the roof of every house or windmills in every back yard, but have you ever considered that we're talking about 250 to 300 MILLION buildings in the US alone. Where's the production capacity for anything like that number of solar cells? Who's gonna pay that cost? How long do you think that would take? What do you do about a house like mine where the roof isn't facing due south, or my friends in Montana that sit at high latitudes which don't get as much solar energy as in say Florida? Consider that a large country home might have the same roof footage as an apartment building, but the apartment building has to charge 100 times the number of vehicles.
So we build a massive amount of power plants instead?
Then the country gets an electrical grid of wires that looks like the telegraph and telephone lines in downtowns used to before Ma Bell figured out how to multiplex circuits onto one wire. Consider the copper costs of all that wire, the number of towers to carry it, the sheer engineering level. What happens when a hurricane or tornado drops a portion of the net? Ever see pictures of all the people leaving Florida before a Hurricane? Now consider what happens as the increasing winds start knocking out infrastructure as they're trying to flee. Sorry gents but the Pure BEV may be wonderful if you look only at a daily average of most commuters needs against range and the green house gas emissions of just the car, but the reality is that any attempt to shift to it will require just as much infrastructure establishment as the Hydrogen future. PHEV is the short term solution, no doubt in my mind on that, but since we would use electricity to make H2 or to power batteries and since both require infrastructure support and development with enormous cost factors, I'm not sure anyone is willing to jump into either one right now, or at least no one with the money this will require.
Besides which do you think is going to be easier to get to market.
Plan A (BEV powered by Local solar power cells) Requires me to pay the costs of the installation, plus having to individually get permitting from my local code authorities who have no clue what standards to follow. (And don't even get me started on trying to find enough competent electricians/contractors to do the work.)
Plan B (BEV powered by massivly upgraded grid) which requires the utilities to jump through dozens of permitting and process hearings, local and state zoning, court challenges, and regulatory hassles for every mile of transmission line they want to build.
Plan C (H2 fuel cells) Which still requires the investment in electrical plants (have to do this either way) but lets the Electrical companies get subsidies for the increases and a few handouts, while allowing every single oil company and gas station to brag about how their building a greener future as they get permits for their gas station upgrades. Oh, and since the initial Hydrogen production will come from cracking fossil fuels will still allow them to sell their product but with a greenwash coating.
OK for one minute stop thinking as an environmentalist and start thinking like an investment banker. Which one looks like it's got the best potential for increasing your cash? Remember that that is the ONLY criteria for evaluating these things if you're in the investment business. Invest on any other basis and your creditors and investors (the people that gave you that money your going to use) will sue the socks off you for failure in "due diligence" and "Prudent use"

Larry

Anne

The lease of the battery plus the electricity cost should be lower than the cost of gasoline.

Is he planning on selling the car and leasing the battery? Hmmmm smart. No large up-front cost and no worries about an expensive battery breaking down. And it's still YOUR car.

It gives you the flexibility to start off by leasing a small (cheap) battery and upgrading to a beefier one if you need it. The old one is leased to someone else looking for something cheap.

Will the lease be per km or month?

Paul F. Dietz

Electricty production still/will always use(s) fossil fuels and produces alot of CO2,SO2,NOx, etc.

Ah, so your position is that when fossil fuels run out, as one day they inevitably must, we're going to have to stop using electricity?

And I guess you think that hydroelectric facilities, nuclear reactors, wind turbines, etc. don't actually exist.

Anne

@Larry:

Our current electrical grid both in terms of production capacity and in Delivery infrastructure can never handle the proposed load of all those cars.

Did you do the math on that? I did it for the UK recently. Turns out that if everyone switches to electric vehicles, that would increase the consumption of electricity by 15%.

According to the Department for Transport, there are 27 million cars in the UK, travelling an average of 14.500 km anually. Thats a little under 400 billion car kilometres. We all know an electric car travels around 6 km per kWh, so the extra load comes in at under 70 billion kWh. Electricity consumption in the UK in 2006 was around 400 billion kWh.

Electricity consumption in Britain grew by 30% in the last 20 years. The shift towards electric vehicles will be gradual over a period of at least 25 years.

So there is no problem, the grid will be just fine.

Axil

Why I think Superconductive storage will beat batteries in transportation applications:

The new iron oxyarsenide superconductor (IOS) has been tested to withstand 100 Tesla magnetic fields. This is the largest field that can be produced in the laboratory nondestructively. Higher fields can be produced using single coil loop destructive test to 250 Tesla but no one has figured out how to verify superconductivity in such a destructive test. What this means is that IOS is a very powerful superconductor.

The strength of the magnetic field is the measure of the energy storage potential of the superconductor.

It turns out that the energy stored in given volume is proportional to the square of the magnetic field. So if you can make a field 10 times as strong, you can store 100 times as much energy in the same volume. So we will see about 100 times the energy density if 250 Tesla can be verified over current superconductors.


Furthermore, the IOS temperature is up to 55k, that 15 K short of the 70K liquid nitrogen temperature, but well within the 20K liquid hydrogen temperature.


The experimental production method for IOS is compression of powder into a pellet under heat and pressure. This may lead to the commercial production of a thick wire form of iron superconductor as opposed to current copper oxide thin film vapor disposition of ceramic on a flat substrate. That is good.

Another IOS thick wire advantage is that you have the ability to pass a very large current through the wire without destroying the superconductivity. In fact, you should be able to pass through about a million amps per square centimeter of cross-sectional area, which is what the old-fashioned superconductors can do. Unfortunately, the copper oxide materials do not perform so well. They can carry perhaps a thousandth of the current without losing their superconducting properties

The limiting factor in power storage is the strength of the confinement enclosure. The huge magnetic fields will require an ultra-strong enclosure to hold in the magnetic pressure.

The projected size of a small car unit is about the size of a spear tire.

Another cause for hope is that there is an army of Chinese and Japanese researchers working on IOS. Therefore, rapid progress can be expected.

Putting all your hopes on batteries may not be prudent. Hopefully, competition may be around the corner.


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