TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the alliance's electric cars business may be profitable within three years as the two automakers plan to introduce new models.
“There are customers who want really zero emission cars,” Ghosn said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York Wednesday. “This segment is going to grow with time.”
Ghosn has predicted battery-powered autos may account for 10 percent of global auto sales by 2020. Higher oil prices, tighter government emission rules and concern such pollution contributes to climate change have prompted Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and other automakers to develop electric cars.
The Renault-Nissan alliance has said it will have an annual capacity to build 500,000 electric cars by 2012. The carmakers plan to introduce at least eight electric vehicles including the Renault Fluence and Nissan Leaf, the partners have said, without specifying a timeframe.
“When we will be reaching this level, overall product lineup will be profitable,” Ghosn said. “This may happen within next three years.”
Nissan plans to sell as many as 25,000 units of the $32,780 Leaf in the U.S. during the model's first year, following its introduction this year. The Leaf will cost about 30,000 euros with incentives when it goes on sale in select markets in early 2011.