Over the past few weeks Renault has been giving politicians, journalists and big commercial customers across Europe the chance to drive a slightly odd-looking battery-powered vehicle based on its Kangoo, a small van. Like most of the latest electric-vehicle prototypes, the Kangoo Be Bop ZE, as it is called, drives briskly and quietly. Unlike most of them, it is a thoroughly practical proposition.
Mr Ghosn’s fervour is missionary. He argues that with the world facing an unprecedented environmental crisis “those of us who make cars need to be part of the solution” and become “pioneers of sustainable mobility”. He is certainly putting Renault’s and Nissan’s money where his mouth is, committing €4 billion ($5.9 billion) and ring-fencing more than 2,000 engineers to work on the project.