sábado, 6 de abril de 2024

Nissan exec says next-gen EVs will cost 30% less to make

 Japan's Nissan (NSANY) has been on a roll in the US recently, and the company thinks it has the right formula to keep it that way.

Nissan reported first quarter sales in the US jumped 7.2%, powered by sales of its Versa subcompact, Sentra sedan, Rogue crossover, and even Ariya EV. This follows a 2023 that saw US sales surge over 20%.

This hasn't always been the case for the Japanese automaker, but a pivot to more affordable cars seems to be paying dividends.

The Japanese automaker announced plans in late March to offer 30 new vehicles by 2026, with 16 of these models electrified, meaning either fully electric or hybrid. And as it expands its electric offerings, the company sees costs coming down too.

"Satisfaction for those who drive an EV is very high, and so the repeat sale is there," Jérémie Papin, Nissan's Americas chair and US CEO, said  at the New York Auto Show last month. "The real issue is cost, and next-gen EVs will be cheaper to make and offer better features."

"As we start to think again about how to conceive EVs, you just bring simplification in it," Papin added. "You bring greater commonality across many of the models, you have fewer parts per car, and the combination of both drives the cost efficiency. So yeah, we're thinking the next generation will see costs down by 30%."

Still, the company continues to bring new nonelectric models to market as it looks to match consumer demand, which has ebbed for EVs over the last year.

At the New York Auto Show Nissan debuted its new Kicks SUV, which is larger than its predecessor, with new boxier styling; improved interior technology; and a more powerful 141-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. The Kicks, which will start around $23,000, offers "what the market wants at the moment — good miles per gallon, affordable price points, and a lot of technology," Papin said.

"The market will move with what the consumer wants, so we just want to offer the consumer as much choice as we can, and then they choose the powertrain that's right for them," Papin said.

"Over the next three years, the company will be launching 30 new cars [and] in the US seven; within those seven we will have all powertrains. We will have combustion engines, we will have battery EVs, plug-in hybrids, and hybrids."

Papin also sees cost parity between EVs and gas-powered cars as an achievable goal by the end of the decade. The question is whether EVs and the electrified products Nissan offers will be attractive to consumers when equally priced with gas-powered cars.

The industry and Nissan believe the answer will be yes — EVs perform better, require less maintenance, and don't need expensive gasoline. But range anxiety and a lack of charging infrastructure remain problematic.

However, Nissan, Toyota, or any other large automaker can still enjoy the fact that Americans are buying plenty of cars, regardless of powertrain.

"I think the market is fairly strong; it's around 16 million units [seasonally adjusted annual rate], at a high level," Papin said.

"The consumer is in need of cars, [the] driving population has expanded, and people who have a driving license want a car. And so we should be positive and optimistic about the market going forward, we're surely very optimistic about our business."

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