The EVs are coming to town


Mitsubishi’s iMiev

Whether Metro Manila is ready or not for zero emission motoring, Nissan and Mitsubishi are coming to town with their fully electric vehicles (EVs).

The coming of Japan’s first mass market EVs was announced by the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines (Evap), which will display the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiev at the 6th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit (PHEV Summit) in the SMX Convention Center next month.

The Leaf and the iMiev will share the spotlight with the birelART e-kart that 11-time Formula One winner Felipe Massa drove during the electric karting demonstration of the recently concluded FIA Sport Conference 2018 hosted by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) at the SM Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City with the support of the Department of Tourism, Petron Corp., Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. and SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. (BMW Philippines) and Philippine Airlines.

The birelART e-kart to be displayed is one of two that FIA donated to the AAP after the conference.

FIA brought to Manila four e-karts for its sixth annual sport conference.

EVs for racing

Even before Evap was organized, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the Paris-based governing body for all four-wheel motor sport worldwide, had been pushing EVs for racing.

The FIA sanctioned the establishment of the Formula E World Championship, the highest class of competition for electric open-wheel vehicles.

To promote e-karting among young spectators at the 2017 Formula E championship in Paris, the FIA paraded the birelART e-kart before the race began.

In his opening address at the FIA Sport Conference two weeks ago, FIA president Jean Todt said that FIA member clubs (245 clubs in 143 countries) could attract younger generations to get involved in motor sport as fans or competitors through environmentally friendly, accessible e-sports like e-karting, e-rallycross, and the online FIA Asian regional Gran Turismo championship series.

Felipe Massa, who retired from Formula One last year, is now president of the FIA Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK) and will compete in the 2019-2020 Formula E season.

The brands participating in the Formula E World Championship Series are BMW, Nissan Nismo, Audi Sport, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Porsche, Citroen, and Mahindra Racing Formula E.

Wave of the future

Meanwhile, in the boardrooms, engineering, and product planning departments of major automakers worldwide, the discussions center on how much longer to invest in the internal combustion engine before shifting to electric powertrains.

Increasingly, EVs look like the wave of the future. In September 2017, along with some European nations mulling a ban on internal combustion vehicles by 2025 or 2040, Beijing announced it may also move against gasoline and diesel cars at the same time.

The world’s largest and most profitable auto market, China is also the world’s largest manufacturer and buyer of EVs: 597,000 in 2017, around 45 percent of the world’s total EV sales.

Nissan’s Leaf

All the leading automakers have an EV or two in their lineup. Aside from the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiev, EVs available are the Volkswagen eGolf, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Soul EV, Chevrolet Bolt, Ford Focus electric, Fiat 500e, Honda Clarity Electric, BMW i3, and Tesla Model S.

Toyota’s Mirai sedan is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, but last December, Toyota Motor announced that it is catching up with the EV competition by fielding more than 10 battery electric models by the early 2020s.

Unfortunately, fully electric passenger cars are not offered in Third World markets like ours.

The Leaf and the iMiev will only be displayed next month with no immediate plans to sell them here.

Evap’s mission

That said, Evap—headed by Rommel Juan—persists in its mission to promote the adoption of EVs for public and private transport.

Founded in 2009 by a group of major EV industry players, Evap has made progress by forging business alliances, securing trade incentives and government support.

By networking with various government agencies such as the Department of Transportation, Evap helped to craft the Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) Modernization Program whereby PUVs must have either a Euro 4 compliant diesel engine or an electric motor.

Evap members have designed and built e-jeepney prototypes for the PUV modernization program.

More e-jeepneys and e-trikes are seen on the road these days, thanks to the Evap’s efforts.

Likewise, Evap may have lobbied with the Department of Finance to include in the TRAIN (Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion) law provisions that exempt EVs from the excise tax on new cars, thereby slashing in half the excise tax on hybrid vehicles.

Exciting EV

Summing up, from small, fully electric cars like the Nissan Leaf to electric public transport to e-Karts, to the Formula E World Championship, EVs cover a lot of ground.

But that’s not all there is to EVs for those who can afford it.

There are exciting EVs, like the recently launched Tesla 2.0 roadster, which has a range of 965 km on a single charge, and hits 100 km per hour in 1.9 seconds.

The Tesla 2.0’s top speed of 402 kph beats the McLaren F1, Koenigsegg CCR, and Ferrari LaFerrari.

As Tesla CEO Elon Musk remarked: “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche” compared to driving the fully electric Tesla 2.0 roadster.

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