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Cars nissan leaf priest

Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

12

Charlos Ghosn: “We Can Ensure The Car Remains A Vehicle For Progress”

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February 24th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan 

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO & Chairman of both Nissan and Renault, recently published an article on LinkedIn about the future of cars. It included a great section on electric vehicles, so we’re reposting here. The key section reads: 

The transport sector represents 23 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions, the greenhouse gas most associated with global climate change. Fifteen years ago, the Renault-Nissan Alliance evaluated the environmental impact of its vehicles throughout their life cycle: the greenhouse gas effect on the climate; the impact exhaust emissions have on public health in congested urban areas; and the impact of using scarce raw materials.

As a result of that evaluation, the Alliance invested more than €4 billion in zero-emissions technologies. Today, it is the only auto group that mass produces a full line of zero-emission cars and light commercial vehicles. Together, Renault and Nissan have sold more than 100,000 of these vehicles worldwide – more than all of the other major automakers combined.

Other major automakers are entering the zero-emissions market, which is generating more competition and choice for consumers.

One of society’s challenges now is to integrate these vehicles into a more efficient and cleaner power grid by increasing, for example, hydroelectric power to replace aging coal-fired power plants. This will require the support of local and national governments, which also need to work with industry to integrate zero-emission vehicles into the broader transportation infrastructure.

nissan leaf priest

Thanks to Carlos Ghosn and the Renault-Nissan Alliance for their great electric car leadership. As reported previously, the Nissan Leaf is the world’s top-selling electric car, by far. It also led sales in Europe in 2013, followed in the #2 spot by the Renault Zoe. Hopefully it doesn’t take competitors too long to catch up. If you want to read Ghosn’s full piece, it is reposted here:

By Carlos Ghosn.

Today, as we survey the major forces shaping the world, it seems clear the automobile is at a significant turning point.

For more than a century, it has helped drive industrial economies around the world, provided freedom of mobility to billions and transformed modern society. But its success in the 20th century came at a cost: a rising number of accidents, traffic congestion, CO2 emissions and oil dependency.

Our challenge today is to reduce and eventually eliminate these negative consequences while bolstering the inherent benefits of clean, efficient transportation to people around the world.

I believe if we are to transform the car for a new era, we must address three major issues: safety, the environment and affordability. But the auto companies cannot do this alone. We will need to partner with one another, with governments and other industries if the car is to remain a source of prosperity, progress and freedom.

Safety

Every day, more than 3,000 people die in auto-related accidents around the world. Ninety-one percent of the world’s road fatalities occur in lower-income countries, even though they only account for about half of the world’s vehicles.

For example, France has four times more vehicles than India, but India has 20 times more road-related deaths.

In Europe, the number of road deaths has been cut in half while the number of vehicles over the same period has doubled. Technologies such as anti-lock brakes, airbags and electronic stability control have contributed the most to the reduction in road deaths.

More technologies are being developed with the potential to eliminate auto-related fatalities.

Autonomous driving is the next step in advancing vehicle and road safety. Together, Renault and Nissan are working on complementary technologies that can predict, detect and prevent collisions. This more holistic approach promises maximum protection for people in and outside the car.

With the help of policy-makers providing clear regulatory oversight, these technologies could lead to “zero fatality” roads within our lifetimes. They also promise far greater freedom of mobility for the aged and the disabled, and will reduce the stress associated with driving in heavy traffic and unfamiliar locations.

Environment

The transport sector represents 23 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions, the greenhouse gas most associated with global climate change. Fifteen years ago, the Renault-Nissan Alliance evaluated the environmental impact of its vehicles throughout their life cycle: the greenhouse gas effect on the climate; the impact exhaust emissions have on public health in congested urban areas; and the impact of using scarce raw materials.

As a result of that evaluation, the Alliance invested more than €4 billion in zero-emissions technologies. Today, it is the only auto group that mass produces a full line of zero-emission cars and light commercial vehicles. Together, Renault and Nissan have sold more than 100,000 of these vehicles worldwide – more than all of the other major automakers combined.

Other major automakers are entering the zero-emissions market, which is generating more competition and choice for consumers.

One of society’s challenges now is to integrate these vehicles into a more efficient and cleaner power grid by increasing, for example, hydroelectric power to replace aging coal-fired power plants. This will require the support of local and national governments, which also need to work with industry to integrate zero-emission vehicles into the broader transportation infrastructure.

Working together, we can ensure cars will have “zero impact” on the environment.

Affordability

In 1999, Brazil, Russia, India and China combined had only 8 percent of the global vehicle sales volume. In 2012, these four countries alone comprised 35 percent of the industry’s volume.

The tremendous sales growth in these markets has been due in part to automakers offering increasingly affordable cars to first-time, cost-conscious buyers in the rapidly rising middle class. The Alliance’s CMF-A platform, created and manufactured in India, is paving the way for a new generation of consumers to experience the freedom and mobility of personal transportation.

We should not forget the important role the automobile has played in driving economic growth and freedom of mobility for more than 100 years. If today’s global automotive industry was a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest economy – greater than the GDP of Brazil – and account for more than 50 million jobs.

Our challenge is to ensure the automobile remains a vehicle for progress and prosperity around the world well into the 21st century.

In partnership with other automakers, industries and governments, we have the capability to reinvent the car for a new era, to provide sustainable mobility for all.

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • wattleberry

    Whilst there is no argument that road vehicles are becoming brilliantly efficient there remains, nevertheless, an undercurrent that predicts the eventual demise of the car in favour of public transport and many comparisons are made purporting to support the proposition of the ‘inevitability’ of such a scenario.
    However, no mass transport system can entirely deal with the matching of availability and requirement, personal privacy and security and moving goods of all descriptions door to door, which, given the above mentioned automation developments, will surely guarantee the continuance of the status quo, at least for short/medium journeys.

    It isn’t even difficult to envisage the seamless integration of the road vehicle into ‘trains’ for longer trips, bringing forward the notion of the ‘holy grail’ of the push-button transfer to any destination imagined by me as a youngster many years ago.
    It was the best lullaby I knew!

  • Rick Kargaard

    One problem is the inability of huge corporations to adapt quickly to new technology or market conditions. The dilemma of Chrysler and GM in 2008 is a good example. We may see smaller as well as start up companies dominate the zero emission vehicle field for a while. The opportunity seems to be there, with not many choices coming from the majors.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I don’t think the majors will be slow to produce lots of EVs as soon as battery technology allows. Most have EVs/PHEVs on the road now so they have at least one assembly line up and running. At least part time.

      It takes only weeks to set up a new assembly line when ‘next year’ models are introduced. If people start buying then they’ll start making.

      Ford did something very interesting with their Focus assembly. They set up three lines and each can be converted from current use to EV in a couple of days. If demand for EVs booms Ford could cut production of fuel model Focuses and pump out the EVs.

      Right now supply seems to be keeping up with demand.

      Actually Ford and GM were well underway toward producing more efficient cars when the financial industry crashed in 2008. It wouldn’t matter if Ford had already brought their more efficient cars to market and GM had already introduced the Volt. New cars of all sorts weren’t selling.

      • Rick Kargaard

        GM was very poorly poorly positioned for the crash that in hindsight should have been easily predicted if not accurately timed.
        Demand is determined to a great deal by price and at this point the majors are not providing a reasonably priced product within reach of the average consumer..
        Telsa produces a luxury electric and can’t keep up with demand.
        My point is that no one is yet producing affordable electrics for the masses and have to rely on massive publicly funded rebates to sell them in quantity.
        I don’t doubt that the majors will fill the need when it is obvious but it is easier to create a need for conventional vehicles in the meantime.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Give us a list of the companies/industries that were well positioned for the 2008 meltdown. About the only companies that I’m aware of doing OK were the low cost food/clothing stores. And that wasn’t because they had prepared. They’re always sitting at the bottom and during down times people move down to them.

          Battery prices are still too high for any company to produce an “affordable” EV. Battery prices are coming down fairly fast, but they aren’t where they need to be yet.

          Battery price is largely an issue of manufacturing volume. We need to subsidize sales in order to create volume. We’re giving the industry a push start and that will pay off for us down the line.

        • mds

          Ya, sure, hindsight is 20/20. Most individuals and most companies did not see it coming. Your observation is false. Next time be the predictor, then I’ll believe you.

          Even Tesla is having trouble building an “affordable” EV. The Tesla model X has been delayed again, this time till 2015. Musk is tackling very large scale battery production to get the battery costs down by 30%.

          Actually, if you consider the economics over the life of the vehicle then EVs/EREVs are already cost effective. This will increasing be the case as fuel prices stay high, battery costs continue to decline, and high-power electronics/electric motor costs continue to decline. Globally, the cost of electricity will drop with increasing use of solar, wind, and storage.
          The basic part count for EVs is far lower than for ICEVs. Batteries are improving more rapidly now. EVs will be cheaper to produce by the time they get to slightly larger economies of scale.
          EVs are here to stay. ICEVs are doomed. This transition can no longer be stopped, even by recession/depression. Only question is which companies and products will come out on top.
          Now THAT my friend, is a prediction!

    • mds

      It’s not an “inability”, it is an unwillingness to see a change in an industry they already dominate. It is an unwillingness to take a risk with what they already have. This is why large corporations often fail when there is a disruptive change in technology. In this case there exceptions: eg Nissan-Renault.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I doubt a single car manufacturer will go out of business as the market shifts from ICEVs to EVs. At this point almost every company has at least one electric on the road or prototyped. They know how to build EVs. They can get manufacturing scaled up in months once the market appears.

        I suspect they already own a LEAF, a Volt, and one of each other EV/PHEV on the market. They’ve torn them down and reverse engineered them. And they’ve got their engineers driving them in order to build data bases.

        Remember, most car companies will (at least at first) buy motors and batteries from other companies and put them into the bodies they already know how to build.

        The only thing that I can see causing a major disruption in manufacturing would be for a single car company to produce a breakthrough battery that allowed them to put a very superior EV on the market. And to withhold those batteries from all other manufacturers.

        • mds

          You may be right. Kargaard has a point too. I’m not as sure they will all survive, but don’t know. I can’t believe Musk/Tesla won’t add an Extended-Range generator option. I can’t believe the other companies won’t beat him to the punch with a low-cost Series-only-EREV. You and others are always claiming, correctly, that it’s the cost of the battery keeping EV prices high. Shrink the battery, add a low-cost generator, keep it in Series with the battery/electric motor …not the expensive series/parallel ones they’re selling now. Seems like the market door might still be open for a new Ford model-T EREV/EV company. Then again, maybe I’m full of beans here. Chow.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If Tesla wanted to offer a extended range ICE then they’d have to develop an engine. I don’t see that happening. They can grow large and prosper while sticking with only electric motors.

            Yesterday I drove a bit over 700 miles. With something like the S range and an adequate number of superchargers I could have done that using no fuel. In about the same time as I did it with an ICEV. And for a lot less money.

            I don’t see a long term mainstream market for PHEVs. Bring down the price of batteries, increase capacity so that vehicle weight can be kept reasonable. That’s all we need.

  • Kyle Field

    I like this – he’s stating that the decision to go electric was an insightful move, stating their position moving forward in a similar fashion and (hopefully) affirming to other car companies that electric is the future and that they need to get on board. What’s neat is he’s also leaning forward with this into their next “big thing” with the self driving car by stating that “accidents are on the rise” as the first challenge with the current transportation model.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      I love Ghosn. One of the top EV champions. People may criticize its approach into the EV world and its low-priced LEAF & Zoe, but Nissan-Renault is bloody serious about the EV revolution, and it is kicking the world’s butt on EV sales.

      Ghosn is a champ, and I think this move (as long as he stays at the helm and it continues) will really pay off for the alliance.

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