Nissan has plans to release 15 new electric vehicles through the end of the decade, and so far 3 of them, the LEAF, the Ariya, and the Kicks seem to be taking charge. Reports have surfaced that the mass production EV maker is pulling the plug on the LEAF, which may affect buyers in the Philippines who were only introduced to the electric car just two years ago.
Not a problem, says Nissan in the Philippines, which has confirmed that the car will be on sale, with full service and maintenance, even if it is bringing in a new electric vehicle, the Kicks e-Power, which seems to be a more practical vehicle, it being an SUV. In the Philippines, as in many parts of the world, sports-utes have found favor over sedans.
Executives of Nissan Philippines (NPI) recently gave selected members of the local motoring press, and as well as content creators, an exclusive hands-on experience of the much-anticipated all-new Kicks e-POWER, accelerating the local electrification strategy with another state-of-the-art innovation adding excitement to the daily driving of Filipino motorists.
“The momentum towards electric mobility is steadily growing. There are more Filipinos looking to shift to more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly options, and that includes vehicles,” said Juan Manuel Hoyos, the recently installed NPI president.
While the the second generation LEAF was introduced in the Philippines, and recent inventories show it has been updated with e-Power and software upgrades, this version released back in 2018 remains formidable and well accepted as it sports a hatchback design. CleanTechnica sources at both Nissan America and Nissan Philippines have confirmed that the LEAF will remain as a mainstay in the brand’s EV lineup, but did not clarify if it will get a further update or not.
The LEAF in the Philippines costs about $58,500 (PhP2,798,000), about $20,000 more than the US price for a comparable model. Blame that on the tax and import duty system. The recent implementation of the Philippine Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) didn’t seem to make a dent on the pricing of EVs in the country, but it did make proliferate small Chinese-made electric cars. (Story to follow.)
Nissan brought the media and some dealers to a local race track at the site of what was the former Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga, Philippines. Executives of the company, led by chief powertrain engineer Naoki Nakada and Alliance powertrain engineering director for e-POWER Akihiro Shibuya introduced the all-new Kicks e-POWER with a walk-through and an exciting track activity.
“Staying true to our goal of providing innovation for excitement, the all-new Kicks e-POWER is a gateway for customers to adopt electrified vehicles, while still enabling a satisfying and fun ride. Nissan is giving customers a vehicle option with high-level performance that eliminates concerns surrounding driving range and lack of charging infrastructure,” Hoyos told the crowd.
At the 4.2-kilometer Clark International Speedway, drivers felt the instant acceleration that comes with the fully electric motor-driven system that e-POWER offers. Unlike conventional hybrids, the e-POWER takes Nissan’s existing EV technology and adds a petrol engine whose only role is to charge the battery and not feed power to the wheels. This results in a ride that is both fuel efficient and powerful, while also being quieter (and probably with lesser emissions) than a traditional petrol-powered car.
The Kicks takes away that range-anxiety syndrome that affects so many electric car buyers, not knowing that the shift to electrification has to do with mindset too. Though the movement to EVs has not gained much traction yet in the Philippines, cars like the Kicks may break that syndrome. Toyota has for years sold the Prius, and then introduced many hybrids after. This “un-hybrid vehicle” set-up is essentially a gasoline-powered generator to keep the large floor-mounted lithium batteries humming.
“With e-POWER, motorists will experience the same exciting yet quiet drive that fully electric vehicles have to offer. Its precise electric motor control at 1/10,000 per second will show how responsive this car is, and its e-Pedal Step is a unique feature that will allow them to accelerate and decelerate using only the accelerator pedal,” shared Nakada during his walkthrough.
“All this makes everyday driving very smooth. It also helps city driving become easier and less stressful, especially with many Filipino motorists having to brave heavy traffic on a daily basis,” he observed.
The introduction of Kicks e-POWER to the Philippines puts Nissan on track for its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, where it aims for every all-new Nissan vehicle offering in key markets to be electrified by the early 2030s.
“The all-new Kicks e-POWER is well-received in Japan. The Philippine introduction will integrate this technology into the lives of more motorists, bringing more people closer to sustainable driving,” Hoyos concluded as he announced that the vehicle is coming to the Philippines this August.
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