Renault: Carlos Ghosn on why electric vehicles are the answer to climate change

OECD Observer Business brief

©Olivier Martin-Gambier

OECD Business brief

"Electric vehicles are the only practical, affordable solution to our planet’s environmental challenges–and they are available today. To get the most out of it, there is one condition: we need to act on a much larger scale. Also, the policy makers at the state and regional level must continue to encourage the switch to zero-emission vehicles."

In bringing mobility to generations of women and men, motor cars opened the gates to the modern world–to freedom and independence. But this progress came at a cost: personal transport now generates 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Renault and Nissan have developed a range of zero-emission electric vehicles, which now represent the most effective way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and offer motorists an exciting new driving experience…

Zero-carbon mobility

Given that fossil fuels still meet 98% of energy needs in today’s automotive sector, electric vehicles offer a genuine sustainable alternative, one pioneered by the Alliance when it brought out the Nissan LEAF in 2010. Power is provided by an electric motor, and since this requires no internal combustion of fossil fuels, the vehicle does not emit CO2 on the road.1 In fact, electric cars sold by Renault have prevented an annual average of 115 000 tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere, or 230 450 barrels of crude oil.2

The electric car’s overall carbon footprint varies from country to country, since it depends on how the electricity is produced– hydropower, wind turbines, coal or nuclear power stations, etc. The Renault Zoe, for example, emits 15 grams of CO2 per kilometre in France, 30 g/km in Canada and 58 on average in Europe.3

As global electricity production moves away from carbon, and shifts towards renewable energies, electric cars will become greener still. Worldwide, 56% of new electricity production facilities are renewable, and this figure is 72% in Europe.4

In the near future, electric vehicles will be able to store increasing quantities of electricity. When connected to an efficient, smart electric grid, they will be able to support the energy transition of cities, regions and countries.

The driving experience of the future

Going from 0 to 50 kmh in four seconds, steadily, smoothly and without jerking, charging the car as easily as you charge your phone, getting around in a silent vehicle… electric cars are inventing a new kind of mobility that is enjoyable and comfortable, while reducing the carbon footprint.

Time for mass production

Renault and Nissan opted for mass-market solutions in making electric mobility affordable for the greater number, and these will also deliver benefits to the urban population, since all six electric vehicles in the range emit zero atmospheric pollutants on the road.  

2Data calculated on the basis of figures provided by the oil industry body, Comité Professionnel du Pétrole, compared to a vehicle in an equivalent category.
4Renewables 2014 – Global Status Report  

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is partnering COP21

Countries are joining forces to reduce the impact of climate change, and cities are trying to improve air quality for residents. Electric vehicles are the only practical, affordable solution to our planet’s environmental challenges – and they are available today. To get the most out of it, there is one condition: we need to act on a much larger scale. Also, the policy makers at the state and regional level must continue to encourage the switch to zero-emission vehicles.

The Alliance believes that it has an effective climate solution to offer and has taken its place in COP21, offering the event 200 Renault and Nissan electric vehicles–the biggest zero-emission* fleet ever assembled for an international event.

Proud, as employees, of this concrete solution and concerned, as citizens, by the climate issue, two hundred Alliance employees have volunteered to work for the operation as ambassador-drivers of this electric solution for the official delegates.

Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance

* The electricity provided by EDF through the French national grid during COP21 will offset the residual CO2 emissions involved in producing it with carbon credits generated by UN-certified projects.




©OECD Observer No 304, November 2015

Economic data


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