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 productionof the Leaf sedan ramps up later this year.
Gasoline at $4 a gallon atthe force provides “great advertising” for electric cars, Ghosn told the mediaafter 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 provideconstraints tied to last year’s earthquake in Japan, as well as costsassociated 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 chipperadvance to zero-emission cars.”
Availability should developwhen the Nissan begins U.S. fabrication of the vehicle this summer inTennessee, he said.
Initial customersatisfaction 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 readyingthe U.S. start of a company that recycles electric car batteries, he said.Battery technology will continue to get better, with more venture dollars steeredtoward lighter and cheaper versions that hold more charge, he said.
In March, Nissan sold 579Leafs in the U.S., up from 298 last year — a part of the car maker’stop-selling car, the Altima, which sold more than 41,000. Nissan has sold27,000 Leafs universal since 2011 as the top-selling zero emission vehicle inthe industry, he said.
TheNissan Leaf positions as one of the first all-electric cars in the U.S. for normalauto buyers, along with the Tesla Motors Roadster.
General Motors’ ChevroletVolt runs on batteries for about 40 miles, before a gasoline-powered creatorkicks in to recharge the car. In March, GM sold 2,289 Volts. GM said it was thebest month for the car thus future.
Ghosnsaid other car makers are readying electric cars among them; Ford Motor Co. isrolling out a battery-powered edition of its new hub car this year.