Electric cars leave Nissan hot, Toyota warm and Honda cold

In stark contrast with the pro-electric vehicle stance adopted by Nissan, and Toyota’s announcement yesterday that it plans to invest in Tesla, head of research and development at Honda, Tomohiko Kawanabe, this week told Bloomberg news: “We are definitely conducting research on electric cars, but I can’t say I can wholeheartedly recommend them… It’s questionable whether consumers will accept the annoyances of limited driving range and having to spend time charging them.”

Nissan is months away from the launch date in America of the world’s first mass-produced electric car, the Leaf, and Toyota, a company that favours hybrid technology such as that used in its Prius over pure-electric vehicles, is to buy a £35m ($50m) stake in California electric-sports car maker Tesla. Honda on the other hand, whilst continuing to sell hybrid cars successfully throughout the world, last sold a 100 per cent electric car ten years ago.

Electric car projected uptake

Estimates on the uptake of electric cars vary wildly. A projection has been undertaken by the DfT, which assumes that if current incentives are left in place and no additional action to promotion takes place there will be 70,000 electric cars on British roads by 2020.

Nissan believes that 10 per cent of the global car market will be pure electric by 2020 – an estimate that may represent over 10m vehicles per year.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA): “The stance taken by these manufacturers reflects how much uncertainty there is surrounding the future of the electric car.”

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