EVs in the Philippines are starting to make their way into the public consciousness. What before was just one is now several, with more on the way, not forgetting that they’re bringing their hybrid cousins with them to the party.
But what EVs are even available in the country?
So the OG EV in the country is the Nissan Leaf. As the first to be sold, it was a lightning bolt to the other car companies operating here, telling them, “Hey. The Philippines is gearing up to welcome EVs. If you’re not already thinking about it, you should start now.” The unfortunate side effect of being the pioneer is that you still incur all the costs, ₱2,790,000 of it, in fact. And for what essentially is a hatchback, that could be a bitter pill to swallow for many.
Surprisingly, after the Leaf came the Renault Twizy, a microscopic two-seater from France. Launched in 2021 with a price tag of ₱680,000, the Twizy was supposed to be the answer to both pollution and congestion, and with a range of 90 kilometers, it should have been a no-brainer for Metro Manila’s residents. But since it has the same price as a Toyota Vios, and the fact that it doesn’t have air conditioning or windows even, the Twizy remains a plaything for the uber-wealthy.
Wuling and Levdeo
Right after the Twizy came the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV and the Levdeo i3. While the Autohub Group brings in the Levdeo i3 with no official price revealed yet, the Hongguang is brought in via grey market sources with a price tag of ₱650,000. With a radio, air conditioning, four seats, and a range of 300 kilometers for the ₱850,000 variant, the Wuling actually makes more sense than the Twizy, if only because it meets most commuters’ expectations of what a modern EV, or car, should be capable of doing.
Between the Twizy and the Wuling, PGA cars quietly launched the Porsche Taycan, the Audi e-Tron GT, and e-Tron SUV in the country. The Taycan is priced at an astronomic ₱9,500,000. But with the Audi e-Tron SUV hovering around the 8 million peso mark, an argument can be made to call the Audis the best EVs on the market today, given the level of refinement, technology, and performance it is supposed to offer. Verification will have to wait, but for now, dare to dream, dear reader.
Jaguar, a name most people didn’t even know was selling in the country, has gotten in on the trend as well with the i-Pace electric SUV. Arguably one of the more expensive on this list, the ₱7,990,000 EV SUV does come with more heritage and luxury, rivaled only by the Audi e-Tron. With a range of nearly 500 kilometers, it can go a long way before needing a recharge. If you see one on the streets, though, let us know because it is a rare sight.
Also Read: Jaguar I-PACE EV: Is it still a proper buy for 2022?
Hyundai and Kia
Hyundai and Kia have gotten in on the trend, too, debuting the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 in the country during the recently concluded Philippine International Motor Show. With no official price yet, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is set to launch in January of next year, while the Kia EV6, launching around the same time, will set buyers back a little under ₱4,000,000.
More recently than this, BYD has started selling the Dolphin EV hatchback (₱1,888,888), as well as the Tang EV full-size SUV (₱4,128,000), Atto3 compact SUV (₱2,598,000), and Han EV sedan (₱4,118,000). And with the T3 van (₱2,498,000), BYD is set to become the first manufacturer in the Philippines to offer a full EV Lineup. With BYD accommodating indent orders for its models, prices may be affected by prevailing exchange rates.
Weltmeister has also found its way into the Philippines with the W5 5-seater SUV. Priced at ₱2,548,000 Philippine Pesos, it’s set to take on the likes of the BYD Tang and, while not a fair fight, the diesel-powered Toyota Fortuner and Isuzu Mu-X. What the W5 may lack in seats, it makes up for in features, with a full tablet-sized touchscreen display that’s as responsive as a yuppie that just snorted some cut-up caffeine pills. Is that a good thing? At that price, it’s to be expected, but it is very welcome.
Nissan Kicks e-Power
Nissan’s execs probably felt the heat from the price of the Leaf and decided it was the best time to launch quite possibly the cheapest “Electric Vehicle” on the market, the Nissan Kicks e-Power – priced between ₱1,209,000 and ₱1,509,000. The use of quotations is because the Kicks isn’t purely electric, using a 1.2-liter inline-three engine as a gasoline range extender. Seeing as most EVs right now take their power from some form of fossil fuel anyway, we decided the Kicks counts towards EVs and deserves its spot on this list, albeit with the disclaimer above.
It strikes a good balance between luxury and simplicity, having leather where it counts and hard plastic where it needs it. It comes with cruise control and Nissan’s famed e-Pedal regenerative braking system, but it doesn’t give you gimmicks like autopilot. The infotainment screen is sufficiently large and readable, giving you everything you need and want with no bloatware in sight.
Truth be told, this is still a small crop of what the rest of the world is offering in terms of EVs. And with the prevailing import tax regime imposed on CBU EVs, neither are they the cheapest. The future looks bright, though, as more and more companies are starting to offer full Electric EVs. And with an Executive Order that is supposed to bring down import duties from 30% to 0% now just awaiting the president’s signature, we might just see a flood of more affordable and higher-spec EVs in the market by the first quarter of 2023.
The future is electric, people, and it’s looking rosier than ever.