Nissan is banking on growth in electric vehicles, which will be no more costly than regular cars once they catch on in significant numbers, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said.
“We need incentives to jump-start the technology,” he told reporters in Tokyo.
He said government incentives and tax breaks around the world were helping to boost sales of electric vehicles, but such incentives won’t be as crucial after several years when production reaches a certain scale.
Ghosn said electric vehicles will likely account for 10 percent of the global auto market by 2020.
Key to their proliferation is battery technology, which Nissan has been working on for 20 years, he said.
“We’re just going to have to go zero emissions,” Ghosn said, noting that car ownership in developing countries is climbing.
Ghosn, who also serves as chief executive of Nissan’s alliance partner Renault SA of France, said recent talks between Renault and U.S. dealership magnate Roger Penske collapsed because “an economically acceptable” deal could not be reached.
Penske’s bid to acquire Saturn from General Motors Co. fell through earlier this month when the Renault board rejected a contract to make vehicles for Saturn. Penske Automotive Group Inc. had needed a manufacturer to make Saturn models after GM stops producing them after 2011.