Just like how automatic transmissions are vilified, electric vehicles are also in a bad light – thanks to the misplaced opinions of some “certified car guys” who never really had a chance to drive one.
Not fun to drive, boring design, range anxiety, and ridiculous pricing – these are the things you’ll likely hear from people. While pricing is something that relies on how our government will subsidize electrified vehicles, the rest of the concerns can actually be debunked just by delving deep into EV ownership.
Don’t get me started on being flood-proof. Any car – EV or not – isn’t exactly safe from floods. But if anything, EVs are even safer from a quick flood fording (if you can’t help it) as all electronic components of an EV are tightly sealed to shield them from elements. Then again, just don’t.
There are many ways to dispel myths about EVs – most of them involve processes as menial as typing on your keyboard and searching on Google. However, experience is the best teacher and in this case, a quick breakfast drive together with Jaguar-Land Rover Philippines President Chris Ward aboard a Jaguar I-Pace. We talked about the current situation of electric vehicles in the Philippines, charging infrastructures, the effects of tax holidays for EVs, range anxiety, and our shared love for Anglo-Albanian singer Dua Lipa.
We Filipinos only have a taste of early EVs through golf carts. They’re slow and I doubt they will entice your senses. The lack of exhaust notes just adds to their unsexiness. But gone were the days when electrified cars are considered boring to drive. Today, EVs are quick – some are even quicker than gas-powered V8 machines.
In the case of the Jaguar I-Pace, the quick driving experience showed me how you can have fun while driving on a silent prowl. It was mind-blowingly quick on its feet, thanks to the motors connected directly to the axles, eliminating power loss. When it was time for Mr. Ward to get behind the wheel while inside Crosswinds of Tagaytay, he demonstrated how planted the I-Pace was around tight corners, benefiting from the vehicle’s low center of gravity. It was extreme joy, even as a passenger, and something I won’t even try on my own car let alone a multi-million peso Jag.
A quick tip: if someone tells you that EVs are not fun to drive, they most likely haven’t driven modern ones and are still thinking about golf carts and cheaply engineered EVs of yore.
Our stigma against EV styling stems from the same stigma about how it drives. But just look at the Jaguar I-Pace from the photos provided here. It’s sexy (like Dua Lipa), has the right proportions, and is far from boring.
Even better, with the lack of internal combustion engines, designers have more freedom in designing electric cars. They can basically do whatever they want in terms of design, such as increasing the cabin space, which is the case in the compact Jaguar I-Pace. They can even eliminate the grille since there’s no need for air to flow inside the bonnet.
While I have my reservations about a coupe SUV styling with a short nose and almost inexistent overhangs, the Jaguar I-Pace somehow dodged those reservations. It looks that good in the metal. Don’t take my word for it; let its multiple design awards speak for themselves.
It just makes sense, and we’ve been missing out
As mentioned, range anxiety was one of the main topics of my drive with Mr. Ward. He said that each purchase of the Jaguar I-Pace comes with a quick charger that you can use at home, which means just like your smartphone, daily top-ups are possible to keep your car fully charged whenever you leave the house.
Besides, EVs actually make more sense in the Philippines than in other countries such as the United States. Our country is a short-driving country, which means the daily commute to and from work should only consume around 50-80 kilometers on average. With the I-Pace’s range of up to 480 kilometers, it would take more than a week before you can drain your batteries without charging.
Of course, there are other extenuating circumstances like traffic, driving style, and vehicle load, among others but the point is, range anxiety has become less of a concern if the car is used within the city and casual trips to nearby provinces.
But what if you have to drive farther? That’s where charging infrastructures come in. Thankfully, there are already some charging stations being established in and out of Metro Manila. The Ayala Group has already started putting up charging stations in its malls, condominiums, and hotels, while Pilipinas Shell has started establishing Shell Recharge – the first of which is in Shell Mamplasan along SLEX.
But admittedly, Mr. Ward knows that these aren’t enough – though the automotive executive – who has been in the industry since the 80s – remains hopeful and bullish for a better future for the EV industry, so we can move forward with the rest of the world.
By the way, we were able to get home right after lunch and with the quick breakfast drive to Tagaytay, we only consumed around 80 kilometers off the I-Pace’s battery range, thanks to aggressive regenerative braking through the one-pedal driving system. That’s what EVs are for you, and that’s what we’ve been missing out on all along.