It seems that Nissan and Renault’s electric vehicle sales are doing pretty well, but have they set themselves up for disappointment?
It’s easy to be pessimistic in an automobile market that doesn’t appreciate newcomers, especially electric vehicles. A little optimism can be good, but being too optimistic can also become a problem, which seems to be the case with the Renault-Nissan partnership in Europe. Sales numbers are good, and Nissan Leaf and Renault’s four mini-EVs, the Kangoo, Twizy, Fluence, and ZOE, have sold roughly 90,000 units in the first third of this year, handily outselling all others on the market.
After February news that the Leaf had sold upwards of 50,000 units globally, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made a bold prediction, that Nissan would sell 1,500,000 electric vehicles by 2016. Looking at current sales figures, Ghosn has had to backtrack a little, but is still confident that electric vehicles are the way forward, saying “we know this is a breakthrough technology… we’re just going to have to be extremely patient and resilient and remove the obstacles one after another.”
There’s nothing wrong with the technology, and infrastructure is starting to catch up, but the biggest obstacle has always been the clients. Getting people to pay more money for what they perceive as less car has always been a hard sell. So the next steps are obvious, we need to educate the clients. Taxi companies are giving people rides in Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf taxis, and there are websites and organizations dedicated to debunking the myths surrounding electric vehicles.
We’ll get there, Mr. Ghosn