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No automaker has more to gain –and lose– in the early-adopter EV game than Renault-Nissan, and CEO Carlos Ghosn knows how the game is played. Nissan is investing $4b to rollout electric cars in the US, Japan and select Western European markets at the end of this year, but despite being committed, Ghosn insists that EVs aren’t ready to stand on their own yet.He tells Automotive News [sub] that
These are mature markets where governments give incentives to consumers. Two years of government support are needed to jump-start these markets and then the products will grow on their own and take off
Nissan has already received $1.4b in retooling loans from the US government, and its Leaf EV will be eligible for $7,500 consumer tax credits for its first 200k sales, for another $1.5b in government support. Nissan also supports the so-called “Roadmap to Electrification”
which could end up costing taxpayers as much as $124b more. Carlos is smart: asking for government assistance should always be phrased in terms of years, not dollar amounts… and at least he’s willing to accept that EVs will eventually stand on their own. After all, GM is already pushing for extensions to consumer tax credits
, arguing that its second generation of vehicles (which are at least three years out) will need continued support. If the government makes an open-ended commitment to supporting EVs at all costs, how will they ever mature into commercially viable products?