Nissan CEO on possible Apple car: 'It's obviously good news'
Carlos Ghosn also laid out his vision for autonomous driving, with the first assisted driving capabilities coming next year and a driverless car pulling up in 10 years.
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SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
BARCELONA -- Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Nissan-Renault Alliance, welcomes the idea that Apple wants to get into the electric car business.
"If Apple does it, obviously it's good news for us," he said in a Monday keynote presentation at the Mobile World Congress trade show.
It may not be obvious to everyone. Given Apple's penchant for dominating the businesses it enters -- whether it's digital music or smartphones -- Ghosn's answer sounds rather counter-intuitive. But he is less concerned about competition and more about raising consumer awareness of electric cars -- something Apple could do very quickly. Nissan was the first automaker to aggressively push the idea of the zero-emission electric car, and Ghosn laid out his vision for the future of the car.
Ghosn's response was prompted by a report that Apple is shooting to launch an electric car by 2020, which would represent a radical new area for the world's most valuable company.
"The fact that a company outside of the auto industry wants to do electric cars is refreshing," he said, adding he was curious about the prospect.
Likewise, he doesn't see automakers like BMW or Tesla as rivals, but rather allies helping to encourage the adoption of electric cars. Together, the industry still needs to work on issues like battery life and the range of the car, the charging infrastructure and car prices, which consumers still deem too high.
Over time, Ghosn said he sees more companies selling electric or fuel-cell-based vehicles, with government regulations on stricter gas emissions making it too costly to build traditional cars.
Take a tour of the phones at Mobile World Congress 2015
Ghosn also looked a little further ahead to the concept of autonomous driving. The first wave of autonomous driving will emerge next year, he said. But the capability will be limited to a car stuck in a traffic jam, which will allow the driver to take their hands off of the wheel and their eyes off the road.
"The technology is ready, we just need regulators to accept," he said.