Talk of the Town | ASEAN 2017 EV & Hybrid Summit

Environment-friendly vehicles always has been a key to have a sustainable motoring future. With today’s depleting supply of fossil fuels, scientists and car manufacturers are looking for ways to get us going from A to B in the most efficient and green way. With the latest and technological advances at hand, anyone can be part of this growing segment. Here are some examples and what could be the next offering for the Filipino car buying public.

The exhibit greets you with the latest generation of the Prius. On display is the Plug-in Hybrid Prius to which Toyota claims it can run for 40kms on fully electric mode. Mated with the updated version of 1.8 Litre VVT-i engine that produces 95 hp and 142 Nm of Torque. With its 4th generation, Average fuel consumption rated at 56.54 kpl. Imagine we can travel to Tagaytay with only 3-5 Litres of Fuel. Design aesthetics has been dramatically changed over the previous one. It supports Toyota’s new design philosophy. It is emotional, dramatic, and modern. It might be too much for some. But Toyota aims to stay away from the connotation of being boring. This made it perfect for the uprising Millennial market. How cool is that.This PHV(Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle) wont be sold on our shores but the regular Prius Hybrid will launch anytime soon. Price estimates is around 2 Million Pesos.

Next on display is the premium crossover from Lexus, the NX300h. The SUV screams premium as it is loaded with tech and premium leather and precision quality. Also it is a hybrid. Fuel consumption is rated at 17.5 kpl. Which is great considering the Nx300h has the 2.5 litre Engine mated with electric motors that delivers 194hp. Also it can run in full EV mode at low city speeds. The design has been a show stopper ever since its debut in 2015. According to Lexus, NX300h is currently the best selling car in their line up. It really make sense for Filipino Eco “conscious” premium buyers that really wants the best out everything. Pricing starts at 3.908 Million Pesos.

While Toyota and Lexus are marketing and selling the Eco-friendly cars with posh dreamer’s delight, Nissan is aiming for a much simpler approach on their cars. With the Nissan Note on display, you’ll hardly notice that is a hybrid unless you see the badge behind it. Aesthetics are almost the same as the gasoline version. The Note has a pretty good package. I see driving the unit anytime of the day because it is such a relatable car to be in. It’s attractive curves and proportions and large cabin room is a big plus. But don’t get fooled by its conventional looks because the motor behind this car has one of the most technological advances in hybrid driving. Nissan calls it the e-Power motor. Unlike the conventional hybrid, e-Power only runs on electric motor without sacrificing the driving range. It means that the gasoline motor has only one job, that is to give juice to the batteries. With that said, the fuel consumption claims to have 37 kpl. Imagine driving to your work and back to your home on a single litre of fuel.  That is outstanding considering the overall look of the car is almost the same as the regular version. I hope Nissan will let us experience the future of motoring anytime soon.

Moving over to another Nissan model is the Leaf. An all electric that promotes total independence on fossil fuel. You have to give credits to this vehicle as it can run on full electric for 172 kms. That is equivalent to a sunday leisure drive to Tagaytay and back.  But given that it only relies on batteries, the Leaf may have some downsides if you didn’t plan your trip ahead. Exterior looks are definitely out of the ordinary.  Interior on the other hand is very similar to the current Almera as they share some of the buttons and knick knacks. All is standard fare inside the Leaf. It can really work on our city roads and blend in without a fuzz. Hoping they can release the 2018 version with a better looking one.

Over at Mitsubishi’s, The Outlander PHEV or Plug-in Electric Vehicle is an SUV crossover  which claims to run on full electric mode for 53 kms.  It has twin electric motors that drives the  front and real wheels and thus making this a 4WD. But  like other conventional hybrids, it has a 2 Litre MIVEC engine that acts as a generator and also an actual engine that drives the front wheels. like any Crossover SUV’s, space is generally abundant and can haul 5 passengers in comfort.  Premium leather and quality plastics are really nice. Loaded with premium tech and safety features, The Outlander can be a next rival to Lexus’s Nx300h. Mitsubishi has yet to announce on when they can sell this car to us. I hope it will be much affordable for middle-class buyers.

Lastly, still at Mitsubishi’s, is the Full Electric i-Miev. i-Miev or Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicle. Like the Nissan Leaf, It is a mass produced EV that has a range of 160Kms on a single charge. Slightly lower compared to Nissan Leaf but still adequate enough. Looks scream eco-ness. everything is plastic and very light feeling. You can see some Mirage buttons and panels inside the i-Miev. But the cool thing about it is that it can run on full electricity. And that’s about it.  I hope Mitsubishi can revamp of the styling of the i-Miev. I believe that it can have a great potential in our market.

There are few more exhibitors that composes of different companies, manufacturing or designing electric powered trikes, batteries and solar panels. One, however, can turn a regular gasoline powered car in a fully electric vehicle. More of it on my upcoming blogs. But for now, let’s end this blog by asking you guys, will you ever trade-off your gasoline powered car into a fully electric or hybrid car? Share your insights below. Happy Driving!

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