October 21, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

The Electrified Orchestra

The Social Butterflies with Sting

We have been performing instrumented testing on fully electric as well hybrid/fuel-cell vehicles since 2005 with the hope that one day our Philippine market would begin to appreciate and embrace them. With the invaluable help of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP www.evap.com.ph) and the active participation from multiple automotive industry players, electric mobility has begun its labored growth. Unfortunately, our Philippine government has been making the transition very challenging instead of genuinely incentivizing consumers to adapt to alternative fuels to lower mobility costs as well as reduce our carbon footprint, by ultimately reducing acquisition costs.

There is so much noise about building infrastructures to support purely electrified cars, which is easily understandable if we are discussing public transportation systems but the reality is that new EV vehicles we are concerned with are alternatives for the general consumer who is not tethered to these said systems. I completely appreciate forward thinking and planning ahead but we also have to be realistic and simultaneously intelligently adaptable so we don’t hinder progress to not just better our country but also contribute to the world. We do share the same planet; everything we do affects one another.

Three years ago, the Philippines did formally join the Paris Agreement* and eventually even help form, with other nations, the Climate Vulnerable Forum for cooperation on tackling climate change and transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet. The Forum serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change. The Philippines committed to finalize and mainstream our obligations under the agreement into national policies, plans and programs which includes a conditional commitment to reduce emissions by 70 % below projected levels by 2030. North America, the second largest producer of carbon emissions, is committed to decarbonization by 2050, combining the use of carbon capture technology, renewable energy and nuclear power.

*The Paris Agreement is a landmark environmental accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts. The deal aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. The agreement includes commitments from all major emitting countries to cut their climate-altering pollution and to strengthen those commitments over time. The pact provides a pathway for developed nations to assist developing nations in their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, and it creates a framework for the transparent monitoring, reporting, and ratcheting up of countries’ individual and collective climate goals.

Now for some quick domestic housekeeping. For the past decade since we immersed ourselves with alternative-fueled vehicles, there have been enormous improvements in every aspect of electrified mobility. With deep gratitude to Tesla Motors for their instrumental influence in competitively forcing the automotive world to fast-track development of truly desirable pure-EV products, the transition to electrified mobility is right on track. Real-world practical consumer livability is now a tangible reality. The concept is no longer science fiction. The vehicles available today in most markets are remarkable and hugely enjoyable. Thanks to so much usable technology at our fingertips affecting our daily lives, even before the pandemic, most enlightened Philippine consumers are completely convinced that electrified mobility is desirable. The biggest issue now affecting consumer acceptance is the perennial problem of retail price which is why government incentives are so critical to make the adoption more affordable. Don’t we all want to breathe clean air?!

Much as the batteries used in our smart devices today, the new batteries are lasting longer, getting lighter, charge quicker, and more are powerful. However, it must be said that most of the weight losses in the engine department from switching to pure EV cars are gained back and more with the batteries even as stressed members of the chassis. Thankfully, most EVs compensate for the weight by producing considerably more torque than their equivalent conventional combustion engine counterparts do. Aside from the obvious carbon emissions from internal combustion engines, the other environmental benefits from using EV vehicles that also directly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels are the decreased quantities of lubrication and other toxic fluids required to operate and maintain said vehicles. There are considerably fewer moving parts and less heat generated by EVs which are far more efficient than conventional gas-powered vehicles.

In general, EV batteries convert 59 to 62 % of energy into vehicle movement while fossil-fuel powered vehicles only convert between 17 and 21 %. Furthermore, the average EV battery pack’s lifespan is approximately around 320,000 kilometers, which is about 17 years of duty driving 20,000 kilometers per year. Most EV motors today have engine speeds that run at around 12,000 rpm and usually produce maximum torque from ground zero.

A few more important notes about the issues of public infrastructure in our country in dealing principally with EV range anxiety. First, let us look at a few actual common one-way route distances that would affect car buyers in Metro Manila; the average distance from Makati City to Baguio City is 260 kilometers. The center of Makati City to the center of Bonifacio Global City is about 5 kilometers. The center of Quezon City to the Port of Manila is roughly 18.4 kilometers. And lastly, Alabang, Muntinlupa City to Nasugbu, Batangas is about 89 kilometers. Now except for the distance from Makati City to Baguio City which is 320 kilometers round-trip, every other common route can easily be handled by all of the EV test units in this gathering both ways and be able to drive around the vicinity normally. So, just as you would use your smartphone on a regular day and charge it before you went to bed at night, each of these test units can easily be your electrified mobility solution.

There is a caveat though when using our household wall outlets. Though each manufacturer provides at least a Level 2 standard charger with the car that utilizes our 240-volt voltage, that dedicated plug in the garage should have a genuine ground; yes, it is that rounded third plug pole that we all snap off to be able to use old wall sockets that only receive parallel flat prongs. Without that, most standard factory car chargers will not work.

It is important to emphasize that most online data the people read about electric vehicles use 100V to 120V Level 1 chargers on home wall sockets and have to use the 240V socket reserved for laundry dryers or pay more to install a higher performance Level 3 or 4 charger that charges much like commercial grade systems.

With all that in mind, let us get right to the 4 out of 6 currently available pure-EV vehicles sold in our Philippine market. These 4 are purely front-wheel driven. The 5th EV is the brilliant all-new AWD Jaguar I-Pace tested a couple of times before featured in previous C! issues. The 6th is the supercar challenging all-new Porsche Taycan tested earlier in the year. Though the award-winning best-selling Nissan Leaf was supposed to be launched first in our market, it has been officially delayed. The official statement from Nissan Philippines Communications Department, Nadine Ysabel B. Delos Reyes, is “Our strategy is to accelerate the adoption rate of EVs in every market we operate in. As the level of acceptance varies across markets, our initial focus has been on markets with an already strong demand for LEAFs. Production and shipment, market by market, takes time and is based on market readiness, as well as homologation timelines. In line with market readiness, we continue to focus on educating the Philippine market and lead the discussion on EV adoption in the country, which is why we participated in the 8th PH EV Summit a few weeks ago. We are looking forward to introducing the Nissan LEAF in the country very soon, and we want to make sure that our customers, dealer network, sales and after sales capabilities are ready for this big step in the country’s automotive industry.

 

2020 Nissan Leaf SV

The 2nd-generation 2020 Nissan Leaf SV seen here represents practically 95% of the retail version coming to our market and should be priced under P3M. We have extensively tested the first-generation model with both its electric capacities and were ultimately very impressed with the overall drivability but disliked its plebian design, fitment and limited range. The new model is good-looking, purposeful, and drives exceptionally well. The red test unit has the neat contrasting blue-colored design elements in the exterior, 16-inch alloys wrapped with 205/55R16 91V Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tires and comfortable non-leather seats that are tastefully designed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the LED headlights or the awesome Bose® Energy Efficient Series Premium 7-speaker audio system enjoyed in our other Leaf test units from North America. Thankfully, the halogen projector headlights are optimized and the standard audio with 7-inch center control touchscreen is good. The new Leaf drives so much like a standard hatchback albeit in silence and additionally supported by the very usable e-Pedal which makes casual everyday driving extra effortless under 120 km/h. You barely need to engage the brake pedal except for emergency situations, and as a bonus, the system helps aggressively regenerate even more electricity when used. Together with the more spirited new motor (37% improvement from 107 to 140 hp and 26 % more torque from 187 to 236), the range increased from 172 to 240 kilometers. Because the center of gravity was also improved with the battery relocated lower to the ground, the Leaf also feels more planted.

Engine: Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 110kW, 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 1-Speed Direct Drive
Max power: 147 hp
Max torque: 236 lb-ft
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 7.7 sec.
Top Speed: 152 km/h (95 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: MPGe 112 (240-kilomter range) 8 hours for full charge from empty at 240-Volts
L x W x H: 4490 mm x 1788 mm x 1530 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Suspension: Independent front MacPherson strut / Torsion-Beam coil springs rear
Price as tested: POA

C! RATING 9.5/10
+The affordable EV- hatch standard. Excellent build quality.
-Not the more dynamic Plus model with 62.0-kWh battery, 214 hp & 250 lb-ft, and 362-kilometer range.

 

2020 Hyundai Ioniq EV

The Hyundai Ioniq EV is currently officially sold in our market by whisper and in small numbers. It is actually very good and for the moment, the best overall affordable full-featured EV in the Philippine market despite having a new face-lifted model offered in other markets with a more potent standard powertrain. If it weren’t for the new face-lift and upgraded equipment levels also available everywhere else but here, the alternative Ioniq Hybrid model which is much more dynamic than a Toyota Prius and also has independent multi-link rear suspension, would have been best in its class while being over P500,000.00 cheaper too. The Ioniq EV uses a rear torsion beam suspension setup like the Nissan and Chery to accommodate the larger battery than the Hybrid version with a slightly smaller trunk. It is a comfortable, unique and versatile hatchback. The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is the easiest to use and the best in this group. The 28.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is the smallest in the group with the least total range but it also charges the quickest and the most consumer-friendly. The Ioniq has the most aerodynamic body of the group at 0.24 cd and had the most pleasant multi drive mode system. The loudest component of the hatch were its tall 205/60R16 92H Kumho Solus TA31 tires. Hyundai plans to introduce three Ioniq electric vehicles in the coming years: the Ioniq 5 in early 2021, the Ioniq 6 in 2022, and the Ioniq 7 in early 2024.

Engine: Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 88kW, 28-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 1-Speed Direct Drive
Max power: 118 hp
Max torque: 218 lb-ft
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 8.6 sec.
Top Speed: 166 km/h (104 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: MPGe 136 overall (200-kilomter range) 4 hours for full charge from empty at 240-Volts
L x W x H: 4470 mm x 1820 mm x 1450 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Suspension: Independent front MacPherson strut / Torsion-Beam coil springs rear
Price as tested: PhP 2,050,000.00

C! RATING 9/10
+Most balanced packaging in our market to date, very easy to transition to EV, strong familiarity. Peppy and very well built.
-Does not have the Harmon/Kardon 8-speaker system and wireless device charging. New face-lifted Model has 38.3 kWh battery with 74-kilometers more range, 16 hp more power, and charges faster with 7.2kW onboard charger compared to 6.6 kW. Kona EV even better with 201 hp, more space, 6.7 second 0-100 km/h, 64.0-kWh battery pack, and 413 -kilometer range.

 

2020 Chery Arrizo 5e

The disruptor in this electric orchestra is definitely the segment busting Chery Arrizo 5e. The Arrizo is the laziest in the group but it also had the most familiar full-featured car-like interior with the nicest quilted seat appointments, rotary gear control, moonroof, biggest 10-inch infotainment system, and weighted steering. It makes up for its modest dynamics with the longest range and the most standard gadgetry that includes 360-degree cameras, wireless smartphone charging port, tire pressure monitor, and more. It may have the smallest cabin here but it also had the strongest climate control with the most effective rear passenger vents. The brake system was the most wooden in feel but performed well. The 205/55R16 91V Giti GitiComfort 228 tires contributed to a good ride and predictable handling.

Engine: Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 90kW, 53.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 1-Speed Direct Drive
Max power: 121 hp
Max torque: 184 lb-ft
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 10.1 sec.
Top Speed: 152 km/h (95 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: MPGe 104 overall (401- kilometer range) 9 hours for full charge from empty at 240-Volts
L x W x H: 4572 mm x 1825 mm x 1496 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Suspension: Independent front MacPherson strut / Torsion-Beam coil springs rear
Price as tested: PhP 1,900,000.00

C! RATING 8.5/10
+Currently the most affordable Pure-EV in our market that also has the longest range, full-featured.
-Halogen lights, fit and finish, a little sluggish

 

2020 BYD e6

Lastly, the anomaly, the oldest entry and one-time longest-range pure-EV crossover in our domestic market, the BYD e6 which is no longer sold in our market. It is the largest here with MPV-like interior capacity and ride height. Unlike the others, the e6 battery pack is obviously located on the belly pan of the vehicle which is not just an eyesore but also vulnerable. Thankfully, BYD has learned a lot from this model that dates back to its introduction in 2009, and applied the knowledge and more to their considerably more compelling new models that are available by indent order (delivery time is 90 to 120 days) with pricing ranging from P1.5M to P3.3M. These new BYD models are the E2 compact hatchback with 300-kilomter range, E3 compact sedan with 300-kilometer range, S1 EV sub-compact crossover also with 300-kilometer range, the 5-seater SUV SongPro EV with 400-kilometer range, and finally the new 7-seater SUV flagship Tang EV with 400-kilometer range.

Engine: Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 90kW, 82-kWh lithium-iron phosphate battery pack, 1-Speed Direct Drive
Max power: 121 hp
Max torque: 332 lb-ft
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 9 sec.
Top Speed: 140 km/h (87 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: MPGe 73 overall (300-kilomter range) 8 hours for full charge from empty at 240-Volts, 2.5 hours using 100kW fast charger
L x W x H: 4560 mm x 1822 mm x 1645 mm
Wheelbase: 2830 mm
Suspension: Independent front Double-Wishbone coil springs / Independent Double-Wishbone coil springs rear
Price as tested: PhP 4,200,000.00

C! RATING 8/10
+Spacious, comfortable, good range, nice suspension.
-Sold out, fit and finish, lethargic, very expensive.

Whichever EV you decide on, you will be rewarded with a modern, full-featured vehicle that performs well without the old stigma of driving a characterless appliance with worrisome range. And in your own way, you would be contributing to society.

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