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Nissan Has a Very Realistic EV Plan

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author photo by Eric Brandt March 2018

With electric cars and hybrids being the talk of the automotive world in recent years, car brands are tripping over themselves to get good electric cars to market quickly. Part of this process is laying out plans for not only releasing new EVs, but revamping the whole lineup to be electrified. GM says it will have 20 new electric cars by 2023. BMW says every vehicle in its lineup will have an electrified variant by 2020. Porsche just doubled its budget for developing electric cars (to $7.4 billion), and Tesla, the automotive king of lofty promises, still thinks it's going to build one million cars per year by 2020.

Frankly, I'm getting a little sick of hearing these pie-in-the-sky promises about EVs. With every new promise, these automakers might as well be saying, "We'll be coming out with a bajillion new electric cars by next month." I'm firmly in the I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it camp with most of these promises.

One exception is Nissan. Nissan -- a pioneer in bringing electric cars to the masses in the form of the Leaf -- just announced it will have four new EVs by 2022 and two new EVs for Infiniti in the same time frame. That's something I can actually believe -- and something I think will likely happen. This is a brand that's been selling fully electric cars for eight years now, and I have every reason to believe such a reasonable promise of six EVs in the next five years.

It's like if someone told me they were going to teach a monkey how to play Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano -- I just wouldn't believe that could be possible. But if someone told me they were teaching a monkey "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a toy piano, I'd be blown away by the possibility, and I'd believe that it could be a reality. One sounds like a delusional fantasy; the other sounds like something that could really happen.

The problem with the overblown EV promises is that the beginning of their execution is nowhere in sight. Let's look at GM: 20 new electric cars by 2023. Can we see one of them? Can we at least see a concept? Can we get a time frame of when the first of those 20 cars will come out?

With Nissan, I'd be surprised if it didn't have four new EVs in the next five years anyway -- even if it didn't announce that plan. The two Infiniti models will likely be based on two of the four Nissan EVs, which makes the plan even more realistic.

So, automakers, stop competing to tell us you'll have the highest number of EVs in the shortest time period -- and just give us something we can believe. Better yet, show us one of those models you have in the works. In this arena, a little bit of modesty can go a long way.

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Nissan Has a Very Realistic EV Plan - Autotrader