NEW YORK (Market Watch) - Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn stood by his company’s early jump into electric cars, predicting Wednesday that high gasoline prices will raise demand as production of the Leaf sedan ramps up later this year.
Gasoline at $4 a gallon at the force provides “great advertising” for electric cars, Ghosn told the media after his speech at the New York International Auto show.
Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co., said the Leaf has been impacted by provide constraints tied to last year’s earthquake in Japan, as well as costs associated with a weaker wish.
“Electric cars hold guarantee,” he said. “All the stars are facing up for them. I’m not at all changing my chipper advance to zero-emission cars.”
Availability should develop when the Nissan begins U.S. fabrication of the vehicle this summer in Tennessee, he said.
Initial customer satisfaction for the Japan-built Leafs sold in the U.S. thus far has been encouraging, with no complaints about show, he said.
Nissan is also readying the U.S. start of a company that recycles electric car batteries, he said. Battery technology will continue to get better, with more venture dollars steered toward lighter and cheaper versions that hold more charge, he said.
In March, Nissan sold 579 Leafs in the U.S., up from 298 last year — a part of the car maker’s top-selling car, the Altima, which sold more than 41,000. Nissan has sold 27,000 Leafs universal since 2011 as the top-selling zero emission vehicle in the industry, he said.
The Nissan Leaf positions as one of the first all-electric cars in the U.S. for normal auto buyers, along with the Tesla Motors Roadster.
General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt runs on batteries for about 40 miles, before a gasoline-powered creator kicks in to recharge the car. In March, GM sold 2,289 Volts. GM said it was the best month for the car thus future.
Ghosn said other car makers are readying electric cars among them; Ford Motor Co. is rolling out a battery-powered edition of its new hub car this year.