Hybrid sales could be seeing a sales slowdown and Carlos Ghosn was one of the very few people who had enough foresight to see this during the days of the hybrid hype where everyone was jumping onto the bandwagon.
Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan and Renault said it was far too early to invest in hybrid technology, because costs outweighed the benefits for both consumers and manufacturers. The fuel savings of a hybrid vehicle did not justify the fuel savings incurred.
In fact, on highways a hybrid car like the Toyota Prius might actually use more fuel than a normal car. This is because on highway speeds, the Toyota Prius runs on full gasoline as the ECU detects highway long journeys might drain the battery too fast as the time for journeys are usually long and there is very little opportunity for regenerative braking. Since the Toyota Prius gasoline engine is quite tiny relatively, it actually has to work harder and use more fuel compared to a conventional powered vehicle with a larger more potent engine.
“At least admit I was the only guy saying, Watch out, the consumer decides, don’t be excited about it. I have some kind of satisfaction of being a little bit right on this one.” said Carlos Ghosn at the New York Auto Show. He says diesel or ethanol vehicle holds more promise for now, but he is not abandoning the idea of hybrids completely. He just thinks it’s not time yet. Nissan is still on track to release a hybrid version of the Nissan Altima this year.
J.D. Power and Associates predicts hybrids will make up 1.5 percent of automobile sales in 2006 and will grow to nearly 5 percent by 2013.