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Nissan's Ghosn: We'll Miss 2016's 1.5M Electric Car Sales Target

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Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn

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Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has admitted the companies will miss out on his original electric car sales targets...and by quite some margin.

Ghosn has previously said that the two companies would be on track to sell 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2016.

But like so many other electric vehicle sales estimates, those projections have fallen short of the mark. According to the Financial Times (sub req.), Ghosn admits it'll take another four or five years to reach those sort of numbers.

Earlier this year, the companies celebrated selling their 100,000th electric vehicle. Most of that total was contributed by the Nissan Leaf, on sale since 2010. Since then, Renault has put four other electric vehicles onto the market, totaling around 30,000 units among them.

Those numbers have since climbed to around 120,000 cars--Nissan's Leaf selling around 85,000 cars worldwide and Renault's sales boosted by the Twizy micro car, Zoe subcompact and Kangoo small van.

At the current rate of growth though, it's likely Ghosn will miss his projected targets by a factor of three--half a million units is much more likely by the time 2016 rolls around.

The Renault-Nissan chief puts it down to the slow pace of electric vehicle infrastructure. "We have to admit, it is slower than we thought," he told the FT in an interview. "I would not buy a gasoline car if there were no gasoline stations."

The cost of the cars themselves, he added, are not the issue. Some may disagree--as the FT points out, strong incentives in countries like the U.S. and particularly Norway have spurred electric vehicle sales. Both Tesla's Model S and the Nissan Leaf have held the top sales spot in Norway at points this year--showing how both incentives and infrastructure are important for EV adoption.

Conversely, Ghosn isn't so worried about competition from other quarters just yet. He says most automakers have just released an electric vehicle here or there, and only the Germans have made significant moves to compete with Renault-Nissan's broad spread of electric vehicles.

The Franco-Japanese company recently signed an agreement with Japanese automaker Mitsubishi to develop a future electric kei-class vehicle, among other cars.

Did you think Ghosn's estimates were too optimistic? And is infrastructure really holding the cars back? Leave your thoughts below.

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