Nissan CEO touts electric car plans at Los Angeles Auto Show

During his keynote speech at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced electric car plans for 2010 and 2012.

Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn gives a green keynote speech in Los Angeles. Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

In its efforts to put electric cars on the road by 2010, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced a partnership with the state of Oregon during his keynote at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland General Electric will develop an infrastructure of charging stations, and Nissan will supply a fleet of electric cars to the state. Ghosn also said that Oregon will offer a tax credit to buyers of electric vehicles. The charging infrastructure will not only make it possible for people to recharge their electric vehicles at various locations throughout the state, but will also serve to standardize components and charging rates so that other car companies can launch electric vehicles compatible with the infrastructure.

Nissan wants to be the greenest car company around, so it's no wonder that the Los Angeles Auto Show, which has maintained a green theme for the last few years, chose Ghosn to make the keynote speech for the 2008 show. During the keynote, Ghosn said that, for electric vehicles to succeed, there would have to be small city cars, SUVs, and minivans. Nissan plans on offering some electric cars in 2010, and mass-producing them by 2012. Ghosn pointed out that Nissan's electric vehicles will be completely emission-free, from the tailpipe and air conditioning to interior materials. However, he also talked about the need for countries to develop emission-free power generation, such as solar and wind, to close the zero emission cycle.

Nissan has a strong financial interest in electric vehicles, as it has been developing lithium ion batteries since 1992, and owns a company that manufactures them. Ghosn said that Nissan doesn't want to keep its battery technology to itself, but will be happy to sell batteries to other automakers. He also mentioned the GT-R as an example of Nissan's passion for cars, although the GT-R is far from a zero emission vehicle. But the point of the example is that Nissan will build electric cars that will ignite similar passion.

See all coverage of the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

 

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