Electrifying one-two punch

If you have been keeping up with the latest in the car industry, the adoption of “an electric vehicle (EV)-only future” seems inevitable at this point. Governing bodies such as the European Union (EU) are looking to wipe out the sales of cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE) from 2030.

Here in the Philippines, that significant shift feels like it hasn’t come to our senses at all. Well, to be fair, the lack of EV infrastructure as compared to other countries is the main factor to point out. As a result, car brands are still understandably hesitant to bring in their EV models.

Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI), however, isn’t daunted about the dilemma as it is one of the mainstream automakers to boldly spearhead the expansion of electrification in the country. The ambitious goal of the Japanese car brand is to showcase the advantages of its electrified car technologies to Filipinos.

“We are really trying to bring a gateway for the electrification in the Philippines so the (Filipinos) can also use this technology,” NPI president and CEO Juan Manuel Hoyos said.
In NPI’s lineup, the company is offering two models that can give an electrified mobility experience. These include the Nissan Leaf and the Nissan Kicks e-Power. The former was launched in November last year, while the latter just recently arrived on our shores.

Photographs courtesy of REX SANCHEZ
DEALERSHIPS with a Leaf charging station include Manila Bay, Makati, BGC, Otis Manila, Cebu, and Tagum and Matina in Mindanao.

I had the opportunity to drive both cars thanks to NPI. The Nissan Leaf is a five-door full EV that has been around in the brand’s portfolio since 2010. On a single full charge, this EV is capable of running 311 km, which should ideally be more than enough even for a week without charging.

It will take you around 18.5 hours to fully charge the 40-kWh lithium-ion battery of the Leaf for around P363. But using an optional and dedicated wall box charger, the charging time is reduced to around 7.5 hours only. Range anxiety can come to play, especially when you forget to leave the vehicle charging overnight.

So as an answer to that, the Nissan Kicks e-Power is introduced. Like its full EV sibling, the wheels of the Kicks are driven by an electric motor only. The main difference between the two is that the Kicks has an ICE that acts as a charger for the battery. That said, it still feels like driving an EV but without range anxiety.

The e-Power moniker is the unique powertrain setup of the Nissan Kicks. When I drove it from Manila to Bicol, and back at its media drive, the vehicle returned 19.1 km/l on highly spirited driving. NPI claims that the Kicks can easily register 23 km/l in a combined fuel consumption rating of city and highway drives.

For those who are considering the Nissan Leaf, NPI said that it can set up a home charger for faster charging. Owners can also charge their EV through select Nissan dealerships. As of this writing, the dealerships with a Leaf charging station include Manila Bay, Makati, BGC, Otis Manila, Cebu, and Tagum and Matina in Mindanao.

Yes, we may be falling behind in the race to establish a solid EV infrastructure where consumers can feel confident buying an EV. But I’m glad that NPI is bridging us to an uncharted territory that promises improved fuel efficiency, low running costs, and most importantly, eco-friendly benefits.

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