Ghosn's Zero Sum Game
Frankfurt - Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is not a man to tiptoe into anything. When he leads his company into a new arena, he likes to go in charging. When Nissan stepped up to the U.S. full size pick-up truck market a few years back, he made a big splash in Detroit. Now, in Frankfurt, he's doing it again. This time he is counting on adding up big sales with a line-up of zero emission vehicles. Ghosn calls it, "Environmental soundness at a price everyone can afford."
From a pint-size urban mobility vehicle to a family sedan, Renault's line-up of zero-emission (Z.E.) concept cars are designed to be re-charged 3 different ways (4-8 hours through a standard outlet, a quick charge through select outlets, and with a battery swap at charging stations). They're range will be up to roughly 100 miles and according to Ghosn, Renault will start rolling them out over the next 3 years.
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If his vision becomes reality, Nissan believes it will establish itself as the leader in zero emission electric cars. It's a market Ghosn believes will generate 10% of auto industry sales by 2020. If he's right, Renault's zero sum game could add up to big bucks. Of course, that's a big "if". There are plenty of people who think Renault/Nissan and GM (Chevy Volt) are overly optimistic about the public appetite for electric cars. Personally, I think Ghosn is smart to target electric vehicles, but their sales will be modest for many years to come, especially if gas stays cheap.
The Renault Z.E. Line-up
The Twizy Concept: An urban mobility vehicle designed for short trips in the city. Renault will announce production plans in the second half of 2011.
The Zoe Concept: A small sedan scheduled for production in 2012