Nissan and its French partner Renault could be on track for selling 1.5 million electric vehicles before 2020, according to the company's latest estimates.

The two companies have currently sold around a tenth of that number since each firm released its first electric cars a few years back.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports, increasing pressure to meet tougher emissions standards could work in Renault-Nissan's favor.

Both companies have revised electric car sales estimates in the past, as each of Renault's electric vehicles and the high-profile Nissan Leaf have struggled to meet early sales targets.

Initially, Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn predicted the companies would sell a combined 1.5 million electric cars as early as 2016.

This was revised recently when it became clear sales would fall well short of Ghosn's targets by this date, and the target was pushed back by four years.

So far, Nissan's electric flagship, the Leaf, has sold over 100,000 units worldwide, becoming the world's best-selling electric car. Recent revisions that increased range and reduced the price saw a spike in sales, with the car now selling in steady numbers each month.

While familiar concerns like range and recharging time are still putting off many consumers, along with pricing still above that of conventional compacts, those who've already made the jump are likely to stick with electric cars in future.

2013 Renault Zoe electric car

2013 Renault Zoe electric car

"It is getting contagious," explains Billy Hayes, Nissan's electric vehicles global vice president. This contagious demand means the company "can hit the number faster".

Hayes says it's "encouraging" that more governments around the world are getting engaged in EV discussions. As global emissions standards become ever stricter, many consumers may move naturally towards cars like the Leaf.

Nissan may also strike it lucky in emerging markets. The company is currently looking to sell Leafs in several countries in Asia and South America, and is "in discussion" with several undisclosed countries about sales.

Hitting--or beating--a target you've moved back four years isn't quite as impressive as hitting the original figure, but if Nissan's predictions are correct, the next few years may be the ones where electric car sales begin to snowball.

Does 1.5 million electric Nissans and Renaults by 2020 sound achievable to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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