Electrifying South

Are we really ready to embrace electric vehicles (EVs)?

Not quite yet, say some who cite the lack of charging stations or infrastructure for EVs, the relatively pricier models compared to conventional automobiles, the fear that the local climate and weather conditions weren’t that conducive for using battery-powered vehicles.

This may be true for now, but many automakers have recently announced a major shift to producing only EVs at some point in the near future, while others have signalled their intention to transition away from fossil fuel burning engines by rolling out hybrids, mild hybrids, PHEVs.

We now have hybrids and PHEVs being distributed locally. Some are just relatively pricey. Other prohibitively so as they are from premium brands.

At the same time, there are now many two-seater, one-seater electric vehicles being sold locally. Cute things that seem more like fads and not trendsetters.

But one local auto distributor is placing a big bet that EVs will be a major part of local motoring. And that is Nissan Philippines, Inc. which has brought in the LEAF, one of the world’s first if not the first mass-produced 5-seater, 5-door fully electric hatchback.

Nissan first announced the availability of the LEAF, which has sold more than half a million units globally since it was launched in 2010, at three of its dealerships — Nissan Mantrade Makati, Nissan Otis, and Nissan Cebu South-V. Rama.

All three Nissan dealerships are equipped with EV charging systems for exclusive use of LEAF owners. This is part Nissan’s plan to establish the biggest network of charging stations in the country.

Soon after the initial launch, Nissan announced that the LEAF is now available at dealerships in Tagum City and in Matina, Davao City

All dealerships offering the LEAF in its lineup are equipped with specialized facilities and staffed by certified and trained experts to serve LEAF owners.

Each Nissan EV dealership also has charging stations capable of fully charging the LEAF in 40 to 60 minutes. 

The Nissan LEAF—which has a range of 311 kms on a full charge and with a top speed of 141 kph—can be fully powered up in 15 to 18 hours at home through a dedicated wall outlet with the supplied universal charging cable.

Said Nissan Philippines president and managing director Atsushi Najima: “We are committed in making our EV technology more accessible to more areas in the Philippines, from Luzon, to Visayas and Mindanao. With the reach of our EV dealerships and the support of our dedicated and passionate personnel, we are off to an optimistic start for this new chapter in the company’s electrification strategy.”

Nissan is supported in this EV drive by Gateway Motors Group as the sole distributor of the Nissan LEAF in the country.

Said Gateway Motors Group Chairman Markane Goho: “We are excited to be part of this EV journey with Nissan. We share their vision of a smarter, sustainable, and exciting future of mobility, and honored to be a pioneer EV dealership group in the country.”

The Nissan LEAF comes with P2,798,000 sticker price and a 3-year vehicle, 100,000-km vehicle warranty and an 8-year, 160,000-km battery warranty.

Phoenix dreams

There’s a new reality motorsports series that may well be worth watching and waiting for on Facebook, Instagram, and the Limitless App.

This is the Phoenix PULSE Young Drivers’ Program – Celebrity Showdown.

The series is an offshoot of the Phoenix PULSE Young Driver’s Program, now on its third and with a shift to e-sports as a response to reality that is the Covid-19 pandemic.

Celina Matias, Phoenix VP for integrated marketing and strategies, explains the shift to e-motorsports: “We’ve been a fervent supporter of the Philippine racing industry, and not even the pandemic has been able to stop us from sustaining this cause. This year is no different as we adapt this project to current realities, while also making it more exciting than before.”

According to a press statement, the Young Driver’s Program aims to search for the e-sports drivers who will represent the Phoenix PULSE Racing Team during the Formula V1 Virtual Cup later this year.

The team will include the winner of the Phoenix PULSE Young Driver’s Program-Celebrity Showdown participated in by eight celebrities and influencers who will compete in different challenges. 

“The Phoenix Pulse Young Driver’s Program-Celebrity Showdown aims to highlight this new arena of racing in e-sports,” said  JP Tuason, CEO of Tuason Racing, Phoenix’s partner in hosting the event.

“We wanted to show through celebrities and influencers what it takes to be an e-sports racer. The skill, the discipline, and the determination needed to be successful,” Tuason added.

The celebrity lineup consists of heartthrob Marco Gumabao, Miss World Philippines 2019 Michelle Dee, tween actor Joshua Dionisio, hotshot influencer Kim Baranda, actor and Hashtag member Vitto Marquez, Tiktok star Simon Javier, popular gamer-streamer Cherizawa, and actress and TV Host Patricia Reyes

The first episode of the Phoenix Pulse Young Driver’s Program-Celebrity Showdown was streamed on different online platforms last June 11 with the next episodes to follow at 8 pm every Friday.

All five episodes of the series will be posted on Phoenix Petroleum’s Facebook page at facebook.com/phoenixph, via Instagram through @phoenixfuels, and on the LIMITLESS app, a digital lifestyle rewards program which can be downloaded on the App Store, Google Play Store, and the Huawei App Gallery.

 It will also be shared on Tuason Racing’s social media accounts; facebook.com/tuasonracing and @tuasonracing on Instagram. 

Flyover cleanup

The areas underneath the flyovers along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) have long been unsightly and dirty repositories of junk and garbage.

It shouldn’t be so but after years of neglect by local authorities these have become prime examples of urban decay.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) under chairman Benhur Abalos is doing something about it. And about time, too.

Abalos has ordered the removal and clearing of all types of clutters and obstructions, including illegally-parked and abandoned vehicles underneath the EDSA flyovers.

The MMDA chairman said this was in line with the drive against urban decay and to ensure orderliness and cleanliness in the metropolis.

Abalos recently led an inspection of areas at EDSA-Kamuning, Timog and Quezon Avenues.

Ironically, the MMDA may have also been guilty of leaving old equipment and other junk underneath the flyover. 

Abalos has also instructed the heads of Metro Parkways Clearing Group (MPCG) and Road Emergency Group (REG) to remove unnecessary MMDA equipment on EDSA and other thoroughfares.

These include discarded and broken plastic and concrete barriers which will be smashed and used as filling material in MMDA impound areas.

“The equipment that the MMDA is utilizing for emergency purposes will be retained, but not these much. Further, we will identify strategic locations to relocate the remaining equipment. MMDA should set an example here,” Abalos said.

He added that this clearing of obstructions will not only be done on EDSA but in all other areas within the jurisdiction of the MMDA.

People tired of ugly stretches of major thoroughfares are hoping “ningas cogon” will again set in after this new wave of cleanup.

NLEX safety

NLEX Corporation is looking to attain ISO 39001, or Road Traffic Safety Management System, certification.

J. Luigi L. Bautista, NLEX Corporation president and general manager, explains why the ISO certification is important: “Road safety counts as one of the customer value propositions we offer to motorists, that is why we take all our safety programs to heart.”

“Establishing and upholding the RTSMS will help the organization improve its road safety performance,” he added.

NLEX said the program is anchored on the three Es of safety—engineering, enforcement, and education—and includes the continuous maintenance and upgrade of NLEX-SCTEX assets and facilities; implementation of traffic laws.

Also being undertaken are lectures and distribution of materials on safe driving practices and series of roadshows in rest and refuel areas along the expressway to remind motorists to do their share in keeping the roads safe.

NLEX said its employees are also being taught to be responsible drivers through webinars, trainings, and programs on appropriate driving behavior.

“Through our programs, we want to exemplify the culture of safety that we want to instill among our motorists and our other stakeholders,” said Bautista.

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments & inquiries email [email protected] or visit www.motoringtoday.ph.

(Editor’s Note: Belated happy anniversary to Motoring Today, which celebrated its 34th year last June 7!)

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