During an Australian visit this week Renault Nissan Alliance chairman, Carlos Ghosn, told Australian media that without government assistance Australian EV sales are set to languish.
Admitting that the success of EVs is tied to the level of government subsidy attached to them in their respective markets, Ghosn said that “Consumer demand is very limited for electric cars", a claim supported by the popularity of electric vehicles in heavily-subsidized areas such as China, California and Norway.
So far in 2017 just 200 electric vehicles have been delivered to customers according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, making up less than 0.05 per cent of the 465,000 vehicles sold in the first five months of the year. Although that number is low, it doesn’t include deliveries for prestige EV manufacturer Tesla, which does not report its sales to the FCAI.
In Ghosn’s opinion the Australian government’s current stance on supporting the purchase of alternative fuel will prevent any meaningful growth of the EV market. "I don't think today there is anything to lead us to think that Australia is going to see, soon, electric cars," he said.
"Usually electric cars take off when there is a country policy about supporting zero emissions transportation... at the same time they are supporting communities to develop charging infrastructure, because they know that if there is no charging infrastructure this is not going to take off.”
"I don't hear anything from our team showing that there will be support for electric cars in Australia."
Ghosn points to the lack of economies of scale for EV production as the main reason an electric vehicle is priced above an equivalent internal combustion car, despite Nissan’s own pioneering position with the Leaf, which first went on sale locally in 2012.
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