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2, 3 and 4 wheels, new-energy feels

2, 3 and 4 wheels, new-energy feels

Tessa R. Salazar
The uber-opulent E-HS9 is a full electric SUV that stands as the showroom centerpiece of Hongqi

If you’ve been following my Road Talk column, you’d notice that I’ve been writing a lot about electric vehicles (EVs) and other alternative forms of personal mobility. Maybe you’d even get the notion that I must be demonizing cars powered by fossil fuels in order to hasten the public acceptance of EVs. To be clear, though, dissing ICEs in order to make EVs look better isn’t my style. And there are a lot of compelling reasons why it shouldn’t be done. I’m citing here my top three:

1) It’s not productive. ICE-powered vehicles still comprise the vast majority of all motorized transport worldwide. To make these ICEs look like the “bad guys” of climate change-inducing GHG emissions is rubbing salt on a festering wound, and doesn’t help push the urgent issues forward. Instead of playing the blame game, I’d rather focus my energies proactively on the active solutions and alternatives that are being developed. And there are plenty of them to write about.

2) It’s not fair. Many of the EVs we see on the road come from some of the world’s top automakers, those who have become household names for their ICE vehicles. These automakers have already committed to reduce their carbon emissions in 15 to 20 years’ time. I totally understand that such a process takes time, because so many others depend on these automakers’ businesses for their own economic survival. Plus, a lot of new systems, infrastructure, and technology must be developed, planned out, built, procured, implemented, and legislated, even. It’s an entire change in the business and technology ecosystem we’re talking about. Much as we would love to hasten the process (because climate scientists are truly sounding the alarm bells when it comes to our society approaching the “point of no return” in climate change), this is the one worldwide change that we have to do everything right the first time.

3) Focus on the next battle. This is related to reason #2. The automotive industry has generally accepted that there really must be a shift to new-energy vehicles in

order to address this runaway GHG emissions problem. That’s why there have been commitments left and right from virtually all sectors to achieve “net-zero carbon emissions” by the year so and so. Thus, the next arena, for me personally, is in the compassionate creation and use of all the parts of the vehicles of the future (regardless of how they’re powered). That means eliminating the use of all materials sourced from animals, such as leather (for the interiors) and stearic acid (for the tires). And I’m happy to report that the use of non-animal products in more and more cars is growing rapidly, in both ICE-powered cars and EVs.

Raising the ‘red flag’

A new player from China has come to town. Premium brand Honqqi (pronounced as “Hong-chi,” which literally translates to “red banner” or “red flag” in Chinese)—known as an icon of Chinese luxury—just opened its flagship dealership in Bonifacio Global City Sept. 15. The event was hosted by Hongqi’s general distributor in the Philippines EVOxTerra Inc, led by its president Rashid Delgado. EVOxTerra is engaged in the importation, distribution, wholesale and retail trade of sustainable products and services, and is a member of the Transnational Diversified Group. At the dealership opening, Hongqi unveiled both electric and gasoline-powered vehicles.

The scene-stealer was, no doubt, the uber-opulent E-HS9, a full electric SUV that stood as the showroom centerpiece. Looking like a bully inside and out, I was glad to find out that its elegant interior was not sourced from animal skin. I test drove the car around BGC, and it was a monster acceleration-wise, despite it feeling heavy and all. One neat feature my passengers and I toyed with was its voice-activated features that talked back at you—like you had an Alexa or a Siri in the cabin. We could command the air-con controls, and the system let you know that it had already done so. And no, the voice that talked back did not have the Jackie Chan accent.

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New e-bike and e-trike brand

From the posh 4-wheelers, we go now to the practical 2- and 3-wheelers. But still, with Chinese origins.

Last Sept. 14, Hatasu Ebike Philippines held a preview event in Pasig City to showcase its 2- and 3-wheeled electric vehicles. Its founders—Ananda Pan and Zac Huang, are also key contributors behind the successful Oppo mobile phones and the J&T transport logistics company.

Hatasu has positioned itself as a mobility company that aims to provide “sustainable transportation for all,” and as such, its product offerings are priced from P19,990 to P36,990. Hatasu is now in the midst of building its Philippine network to 500 stores nationwide, with more than 10,000 users in just 10 months, and supported by 30 trusted partners.