Nissan's electric cars will be 'mass market'
The fact that Europe is made up of so many nations makes a single electric vehicle business model unlikely, said Andy Palmer, newly appointed head of Renault-Nissan's global electric vehicle business unit.
"The most likely solution is some form of leasing, but this will vary from region to region," Palmer told Automotive News Europe.
Palmer said Nissan and Renault were exploring options where both car and battery are leased, or where just the battery - which costs around $10,000 (about 8,000 euros) - is leased.
Palmer added that the cost of an electric car "should not be significantly different" to today's cars once the battery is taken out of the equation.
Palmer was reluctant to give sales targets but said that "tens of thousands" of electric cars would be seen in Europe under both Renault and Nissan brands. "If it was a niche, we wouldn't be doing it."
Different charging systems will suit different countries, Palmer said. "The UK has more garages, so overnight charging is the obvious solution. The other solution is the quick charge, where a car can be recharged in 20 to 30 minutes."
Palmer said quick charging would not harm battery life. Nissan is counting on a recharge every day for an ownership period of up to 10 years.
Nissan's electric vehicles are all designed around the substantial size of the 250kg battery module, Palmer said.
"This is no more different than designing normal cars for petrol or diesel,
right- or left-hand drive."
Nissan's electric cars will be a mixture of standalone battery vehicles and adaptations of existing models.
"Our development budgets have not been cut," said Palmer, who is also in charge of global LCV business for Nissan in Europe.