As you might have heard, electric vehicles (EVs) are quickly becoming commonplace in many developed nations. If not electric, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEV) are becoming quite popular even with mainstream brands in the Philippines.
However, while those types of EVs are easy to live with because they run primarily on fuel, a fully electric vehicle will take some adjusting to incorporate into your daily life. Brands like Nissan are pioneering EVs with the LEAF, and others like Toyota with its Corolla Altis and Corolla Cross are all going for electrification for the future. That being said, there is a bit of a disconnect between the standard operating procedure of a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) and an EV’s powertrain, so cover everything you need to consider before you line up for or buy an EV in the Philippines.
Instant power and torque
Electric vehicles are known for their precise power and torque delivery. If you’ve ever played around with RC cars as a kid, you know that the moment you accelerate, there is an immediate response from the electric motor. Heck, EVs can even rival some sports cars in terms of 0-100 km/h times. The instantaneous motor response is especially good in traffic, and there is also a certain smoothness that an EV can bring to the table that you don’t typically find in gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles.
What oil changes?
An EV's maintenance interval will be much different from that of a car with a fuel-powered engine. That being said, you don't have oil changes, but your car will still come with a water-cooled system that you need to monitor.
That being said, it is still a car with tires, brakes, and paint that you need to keep in tip-top condition. Tire rotations will be largely the same, as are the other maintenance consumables that you need to take care of. If you have an EV and someone tells you its motor needs an oil change, just give them a funny look. That being said most EVs will have to go to the dealership in order to get serviced, so keep that in mind. The powertrain isn't bulletproof as well, so having it regularly checked is a good practice to have.
While most cars are heavy anyway, an EV will need to make sacrifices in the weight department. This is because the battery cells are pretty hefty, plus they have to be housed in a weather-proof and puncture-proof case that will allow the EVs to withstand dust, debris, oils, and water on the road. However, the weight is underneath the car, so while it might be heavy, even electric crossovers have a good center of gravity and are not as top-heavy as their gas-guzzling counterparts.
Charging and range
Here’s the biggest hurdle that you need to overcome. Range anxiety is a real thing. Much like your phone, dipping into that battery-low warning will be a hassle. Considering that there aren’t a lot of fast-charging stations in the Philippines just yet, EVs will need to head back home or to a dealership in order to get a little more juice for a long journey. There is also a chance that you will forget to charge your vehicle in your house. It’s also not like a normal car where a trip to the gas station can get you topped up and ready to go hundreds of kilometers right away. There is a period of inactivity that you have to account for to charge your EV. For now, or at least until charging stations crop up in key areas of the Metro or out of it, you might have to use your EV for your daily commute to work and back, plus a few errands and short- to mid-range drives. Before you buy, know that you will have to be disciplined to make sure that you don’t run out of juice and get stranded by the side of the road.
On top of that, the dealer may either bundle in or offer a fast-charging station for your home. You can still plug your car into an outlet, but your vehicle will charge slowly. The fast charger allows your vehicle to be charged up much faster, topping up your battery quicker for the next day or another drive. Factor in this cost if you want an ownership experience that is less of a hassle.
What’s a frunk?
Usually, a normal car gets an engine under its hood, but for quite a few EVs, the hood houses a storage compartment in the front. It’s otherwise known as a “frunk.” That’s it, really. It’s an extra cargo space, if the vehicle supports it.
Since EVs are still quite new and the technologies are still not widely available, the price of a brand new EV will be a bit more expensive than your typical fossil fuel-powered car. The Nissan LEAF is such an example, and it’s priced around the P2,000,000 range. A compact hatchback and sedan like the Mazda3 or Honda Civic will set you back about P1,500,000 for the top-of-the-line model, but they’re no EV.