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Ghosn: Renault-Nissan to assemble 500,000 EVs annually by late 2013


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Ghosn: Renault-Nissan to assemble 500,000 EVs annually by late 2013

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington - Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said today the two automakers plan to build 500,000 electric vehicles annually by the end of 2013.

At a roundtable discussion with automotive reporters, Ghosn also predicted additional consolidation in the auto industry, though it may come through joint projects rather than one automaker acquiring another.

Nissan is launching its all-electric Leaf, which has a 100 mile range, in December. It plans to sell 20,000 Leafs in the United States over the next year.

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Ghosn predicts that because of strong consumer demand, Nissan will be "capacity constrained" for the Leaf for the next three years.

Nissan and Renault will each have four electric vehicle models by 2013.

For Nissan, the Japanese automaker plans an electric light commercial vehicle, small city car and a luxury car, plus the Leaf. Nissan hasn't disclosed any details about the Infiniti electric vehicle it plans to build.

Nissan plans to produce 200,000 battery packs annually and 150,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2013, when its new Leaf factory starts production in Tennessee. The plant won a $1.4 billion low-cost government loan.

Ghosn reiterated his belief that electric vehicles will account for 10 percent of all vehicles sold globally by 2020, calling it a "very reasonable number."

He said Nissan didn't "have to worry about what's going to be the sales tactics" for the Leaf for the next three years, because of heavy world-wide demand. And he noted that Nissan hasn't yet decided to enter some big markets with the Leaf, including China.

"This is for decisions already made," Ghosn said.

If consumer demand is strong, it could go higher, and Nissan may decide to take the Leaf to China.

Ghosn said he expects auto sales worldwide to increase by about 3 percent 2011, from about 70 million this year, or an increase of 2 million to 2.5 million in 2011.

He also took an indirect shot at the Chevrolet Volt, an extended range plug-in hybrid vehicle that will go 25 to 50 miles on battery power. GM disclosed last month that at high speeds, the gasoline engine provides some power to the wheels.

"Electric car, for me, is a car that the wheels are moving only by electricity," Ghosn said. "No gasoline in any part of the car, no exhaust pipe, no tank etcetera. That's an electric car."

Ghosn said the Renault-Nissan would not acquire a stake in GM through its initial public offering that's expected later this week.

He is meeting this week with administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101115/AUTO01/11150407/Ghosn--Renault-Nissan-to-assemble-500-000-EVs-annually-by-late-2013#ixzz15OrIxpYT

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