Renault to mass-produce plug-in cars

July 5, 2008 at 7:49 PM

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, July 5 (UPI) -- Renault, in response to soaring gas prices, plans to mass-produce electric cars, the French automaker's chief executive said Saturday.

"We're getting ready for mass production of electric cars," Carlos Ghosn said at an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence. "Energy will remain expensive."

Ghosn estimates there is a 10 million vehicle market for urban cars, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Ghosn also is chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co. The Japanese automaker plans to bring a fully electric, zero-emissions car to the mass market by 2012, Ghosn said in May.

He said switching to battery-powered cars creates an opportunity to revitalize the European auto industry.

"Batteries you can produce them on the Champs Elysees, or anywhere close to Paris," Ghosn said, noting it doesn't require as much labor.

He said Renault plans in the meantime to boost production at plants in Morocco and India.

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