Now Reading
Proof of Leaf

Proof of Leaf

Tessa R. Salazar

Cebu councilor’s EV provides lone light in devastating darkness caused by a super typhoon

There’s something about Cebu City Councilor Nestor D. Archival that sets him apart from the usual politico. For one, he’s an electrical engineer, and somewhat of an environmentalist on a vegetarian diet. For another, he has been sourcing much of his household’s energy from the sun for the past 16 years.

One has to see his home (shown in main photo) in Talamban, Cebu, to believe. Archival’s 270-sqm two-story eco house sits on a 7,000 sqm lot. The property is mostly made up of recycled materials, and there are two sets of solar panels, and one 450-watt wind turbine system.

The first set of 27 solar panels–250 watts of energy each–charges the house’s battery which has a storage capacity of around 5kW. That battery, in turn, powers his refrigerator, two air-conditioners, and other home appliances.

Another set of 27 solar panels, which can also generate 250 watts each, is used to power his workshop and his family’s small ice-making plant.

The councilor has set up so many solar arrays that after everything, he still manages to save surplus energy in his batteries.

“My electric bill before was P25,000 per month. Now, with solar panels, it’s just P1,500 to P7,000 per month. We don’t receive incentives from the utility company. Only when we give energy to them does the utility pay us 50 percent of the cost of which they’re charging to the customers,” explained Archival.

Being an example of sustainable living, Archival makes sure that even his means of transport espouses his advocacy. For that, he has purchased his own Nissan Leaf full-electric vehicle, which operates completely off-grid since his solar panels charge the EV.

Councilor Nestor D. Archival with his Leaf.

This translates to virtually zero cost in powering up the Leaf. “Considering that my solar system is already in place, I have no other cost per month. The power I use to charge my Leaf is free. I normally charge my Leaf the whole morning.”

When super typhoon Odette raged over the region in mid-December last year, Archival used the Leaf to provide an alternative energy source for communities in Cebu affected by the massive power outage.

Archival told members of the motoring media during the Jan. 27 panel discussion at the Nissan Philippines’ Blue Switch Campaign launch, that it was all about giving free power from the sun to the communities which needed it the most. “The Cebuano community were left without power in the wake of Typhoon Odette’s destruction. The Nissan Leaf came to the rescue as a much-needed humanitarian tool and source of electrical power,” he narrated.

Archival told this writer that his purchase of the Leaf in October 2021 happened just in time. “Nissan Philippines delivered it on Dec. 8, by no less than NPI president himself, Atsushi Najima, and Michael Goho, executive vice president of Gateway Motors Group (Nissan Cebu South’s dealer principal). The typhoon hit Cebu on Dec. 16. On Dec. 21, I started to use the Leaf as a charging station. Considering that Cebu City was in total blackout, NPI lent me another Leaf for charging,” Archival said.

Leaf providing an alternative energy source.

One can say Archival’s advocacy for sustainable transport helped Cebuanos find the light in the darkest situations.

The councilor is busy making his constituents realize there’s more to the Leaf than just providing power during emergencies. “I’m pushing for sustainable transport, because now, 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are actually contributed by the transportation sector. And we know for a fact that greenhouse gas emissions result in climate change. And climate change will result in calamities and disasters. Everybody should have a share in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; an action that will reduce is to adapt EV mobility,” he explained.

In Gore’s company

Archival isn’t merely concerned by what humans put out, but also what they take in. He said that he’s on a plant-based diet, and describes his nutrition as vegetarian. He runs a vegetarian restaurant temporarily housed in the family’s ecohouse facility, called Nutree Cafe, as well as a juice store in Ayala Center Cebu and Seaside SM named Toniq–in partnership with his friend Jonie Gesalem. The pandemic, however, has affected Archival’s sustainable food ventures. He recounted how former Mayor Tommy Osmena–in his meetings–would prepare two kinds of food–one for the meat-eating councilors and another for him, the only vegetarian in the group. Osmena then called the separate dishes “Archival’s veggies”.

Archival then showed a 2010 picture of him with environment advocate and Nobel laureate Al Gore (who’s on a vegan diet—one who totally shuns all animal byproducts).

See Also

Archival has certainly found his own political niche on a “green” platform. Sunstar in 2010 reported that one of his biggest accomplishments as a councilor was the creation of the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

He has served Cebu City as councilor for over 14 years, 60 days as vice mayor, “when our mayor was suspended, since I was the first councilor by that time.” He also served a year as a barangay councilor.

‘Vehicle-to-everything’

Archival told the media during the Jan. 27 conference: “One very important capability which I realized with the Leaf is the V2x.” V2x is the “vehicle-to-everything” technology that enables bi-directional charging to use energy from the Leaf battery to power homes and equipment, or simply give back energy to the power grid.

“V2x is the capability of the Leaf to receive electrical energy, and this electrical energy will be used to power this car as transportation. Then the Leaf can provide electrical energy through equipment which we call the Power Mover,” Archival described.

From then, even until now, Archival’s Leaf has been able to power Cebu communities, especially the poor ones who could not afford to buy generator sets.

“It’s very heartwarming to see people still happy in times of misery,” Archival said.