Cars that can survive high fuel prices


Iñigo S. Roces

If Filipinos were hesitant to adopt electrified vehicles in the past, the recent hemming and hawing of fuel prices at high levels are certainly an impetus now. Electrified vehicles were designed to wean us off of fossil fuels by extracting power from electricity rather than gasoline. Though intended more to protect the environment, another added benefit is the reduced, if not eliminated, fuel consumption.

A better choice
Electrified vehicles rely on electric motors and batteries to store energy and propel the vehicle. They come in two varieties: fully-electric and hybrid electric.

Fully-electric cars rely solely on electricity. This means how far they can go depends on the size of the batteries in them. They can be charged at home in a wall socket or special charger, but there are only a handful of charging stations in the city where owners can charge. Nonetheless, they produce zero emissions and are completely silent.
Hybrid electric vehicles, on the other hand, use a combination of gasoline and electric power sources. Full hybrids can use either a gasoline or electric source independently or even together. An added benefit is, when the batteries run out, the gasoline engine charges them up while running the car. Despite the gasoline engine’s dual role, hybrids still return less fuel consumption than a conventional car. There are also mild hybrids where the electric power simply assists the engine to reduce fuel consumption. Finally, another kind of hybrid, called Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) allows drivers to charge the batteries at home for fully electric use for the first part of the journey.
So what electrified vehicles can you buy in the Philippines now? Thankfully, there’s now a range of choices from fully-electric to hybrid, in various shapes, sizes and abilities.

Pure electric
Those wanting a pure electric vehicle can choose from a number of brands. Those looking for an every day vehicle can check out BYD Philippines with a showroom in Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong. There are five models to choose from, starting with the E2 hatchback, E3 sedan, E6 MPV, S1 crossover SUV, and T1 minivan. Prices range from as low as ₱1.6-million to ₱4-million. Then there’s Nissan that offers its LEAF (Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car) locally at ₱2.8-million. Changan offers the Eado EV460 for ₱1.8-million.
Those looking for performance electric vehicles should head to brands like Audi, Jaguar and Porsche. Audi offers the E-Tron in both SUV and fastback forms. Unfortunately, the price is only given upon inquiry so expect it to cost several million. Its sister brand, Porsche, also offers the Taycan, which is the one electric car capable of matching a Tesla Model S’s performance. Finally, there’s Jaguar’s I-Pace: a sporty fully- electric SUV.

Those looking for something in between should check out Plug-in Hybrid vehicles (PHEV). These are hybrids with a charger, allowing you to top up the batteries so you don’t have to run the engine to charge them up. Among them are the Ranger Rover Sport and Vogue PHEV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Volvo Twin Power S90, XC60, and XC90. Prices start at nearly ₱3-million for the Outlander PHEV, all the way up to up to nearly ₱12-million for the Range Rover Vogue PHEV.

Perhaps the easiest to get into are the hybrids. These are designed to work like conventional cars without any plugs or chargers to worry about. Their automated systems monitor the battery for you and charge them as needed. Some examples are the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid starting at just ₱1.5-million. They slowly creep towards ₱2-million when it comes to models like the Mazda 3 hybrid and Toyota Corolla Altis and Corolla Cross Hybrid. Larger vehicles like the Camry and RAV4 hybrid are priced close to or at ₱2-million. Perhaps the widest range of hybrid options is with Lexus, where any model with a small ‘h’ in its name is a hybrid. It starts with the CT200h at ₱2.45-million all the way up to ₱11.4-million for the LS 500h.

Granted, going green and saving fuel is not easy for the average consumer. However, given how the current conflict abroad is going, these fuel prices might stay high for a while.

(Iñigo S. Roces is the MB Motoring Editor)