Carlos Ghosn: 'We're probably the only carmaker who's starting to make money selling electric cars'

  • The alliance, which started work on electrification back in 2008, announced September that it is going to produce 12 new electric cars within the next five years.
  • Speaking to CNBC, Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive officer, said that it takes time to make money out of electric cars but the French group has mastered the business.

The auto alliance between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi is probably the most advanced and profitable carmaker when it comes to producing electric cars, the company's CEO told CNBC Friday.

The alliance, which started work on electrification back in 2008, announced September that it is going to produce 12 new electric cars within the next five years. Speaking to CNBC, Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive officer, said that it takes time to make money out of electric cars but the French group has mastered the business.

"We are probably the most advanced carmaker in terms of costs of electric cars and we have announced already in 2017 that we are probably the only carmaker who's starting to make money selling electric cars," Ghosn said.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman of the alliance between Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Carlos Ghosn, chairman of the alliance between Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

"We know that there's a steep curve before you start to make money out of electric cars. I think we are well advanced," he added.

The carmaker surprised analysts and investors Friday morning when reporting a record operating profit of 3.854 billion euros ($4.84 billion) for 2017 — an increase of 17.4 percent from the year before.

Ghosn added that he does not foresee any impact on costs of electric cars if there's higher costs in raw materials.

"The increase in the cost of the raw material would be compensated by much better knowhow into how to make batteries more efficiently and how to substitute some of the raw materials going into the batteries," he said.