Carlos Ghosn promises Nissan shareholders EV with better-than-ICE range

Carlos Ghosn - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

At yesterday’s shareholder conference in Yokohama, Nissan said it is already testing an electric vehicle that will provide the same range as today’s gasoline-driven cars. In front of a blue Nissan Leaf acting as a test mule for the new technology, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn said that “in the near future,” Nissan will offer EV mobility “comparative to today’s conventional vehicles.” According to Ghosn, Nissan is testing “new materials and chemistry solutions in order to make thinner, lighter weight and less costly batteries.”

Nissan’s technology-chief Hideyuki Sakamoto later confirmed that the blue Leaf comes with “a driving range equivalent to that of an ICE. The charging time also will be much shorter.”

Late last year, Ghosn promised on Japanese TV that in a few years, Nissan will come out with a range-doubling battery that will provide more than 400 kilometers according to the notoriously optimistic Japanese test cycle. Yesterday, Nissan’s stockholders were shown a video where a Nissan Leaf driver leaves the house with 417 kilometers range on the display, and after a day of scenic drives, he returns home with more than 200 km left.

With current technology, “there are only two reliable ways to increase range of an EV,” said Ghosn. “First is to have a massive network of EV chargers. The other option is to put a larger battery pack into the vehicle.” However, said Ghosn with a not-so-subtle reference to Tesla, “adding more battery means adding more cost.” The new battery appears to solve that conundrum, at least for Nissan.

Apart from Ghosn’s “near future” reference, no date was given for the battery breakthrough. However, it appears as if in the 2018/19 timeframe, EVs may finally compete with the ICE, both on range and price.

For those who can’t wait, Ghosn added more weight to yesterday’s rumors of a 2016 Nissan Leaf with a larger 30kwh battery. “Later this year,” said Ghosn, “you will hear more about our initial steps to increase EV range.”