Nissan Builds Buzz With Plans For Electric Car Despite warning of "tougher times" because of the weak U.S. economy, Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday that the automaker plans to become the global leader in zero-emission vehicles.
NPR logo

Nissan Builds Buzz With Plans For Electric Car

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90405906/90411519" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Nissan Builds Buzz With Plans For Electric Car

Nissan Builds Buzz With Plans For Electric Car

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90405906/90411519" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Dustin Dwyer of Michigan Radio has this story on Nissan's aspirations.

DUSTIN DWYER: Carlos Ghosn is a revered figure at Nissan. Born in Brazil, raised in France, Ghosn is considered the man who saved Nissan from bankruptcy. Today in Tokyo, Ghosn stood in front of a room full of photographers, and he made a simple case for electric cars. He said the number of people buying cars around the world is going up. At the same time, the need to cut emissions is getting more desperate.

CARLOS GHOSN: There is a perceived conflict between the demand for more cars and the demand for a cleaner planet - 10, 20 or 30 percent lower emissions cannot be the only answer.

DWYER: So Ghosn said 100 percent lower emissions should be the goal. Other executives in the auto industry have made this case before, but when they talked about building zero-emission cars, they talk about doing it a decade for now. But Ghosn says he plans to get a pollution-free vehicle on the road much sooner.

GHOSN: Today, there is latent global demand, but no offer. Nissan has an opportunity to mass market an affordable car that is both independent from oil and environmentally neutral.

DWYER: Ghosn says Nissan will have these cars on the road in two years for government fleets in the U.S. and Japan. He says the cars will be a mass production by 2012.

STEPHANIE BRINLEY: Its feel like a target that I'm not sure they're going to make.

WELNA: Stephanie Brinley is an industry analyst with AutoPacific. She says Nissan is far behind Toyota and General Motors in developing a new high-powered battery that's needed for an electric car. But even if Nissan can get a battery breakthrough, Brinley says the company will still have to convince people that electric cars are worth buying.

BRINLEY: Particularly with the U.S. market, we haven't been all that accepting of electric vehicles before. So, it has to be something pretty darn amazing to really get us to think about it.

WELNA: From NPR News, I'm Dustin Dwyer in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.