ONE of the few pure-electric autos available in the Philippines, the BYD e6 is a gem. With a range of more than 300 kilometers on its proprietary iron phosphate battery, the e6 comes very close to being a car that happens to be electric, rather than an electric car.
Distributed by Solar Transport and Automotive Resources Corp. (STAR Corp.), the Philippines’ only dealer of China-based BYD (the name, in typically charming Chinese fashion, stands for “Build Your Dreams”), the e6 is a solid package.
Powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor that generates an impressive 120 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque, the e6 is capable of a top speed of 140 kph, and has an urban range of 300 km, about 50 km of which is attributable to the e6’s brake energy recovery system. Higher speed highway driving shortens the e6’s legs a bit, an unavoidable handicap that is partly offset by the fast charging capability of its battery, which can charge in just two-and-a-half hours on a 100kW charging cabinet, or six hours on a 10kW charging pole. The battery is rated for up to 4,000 charging cycles, which gives it an effective life of several years, depending on use.
Exterior features of the five-seater are on par or better compared with other cars of similar size. The e6 is equipped with electric folding side mirror with side camera and welcome lights, LED daytime running lights, fog lamps, and LED rear taillights. In keeping with its electric DNA, the front grill design is vaguely reminiscent of a circuit board. Somewhat surprisingly for a car of this type, the e6 is aggressively fitted out with 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels mounting 235/65R17 tires.
The nicely-dressed interior, roomy for four adults and reasonably comfortable for five, offers ample rear storage space and features such as push-button start, a six-position electrically adjustable driver seat, a touch screen multimedia system, multi-function steering wheel, multi-information display, and cruise control.
Safety features include six airbags (front, side, and curtain), three-point seatbelts for all five seats, tire pressure management system, and antilock brakes with an electronic brake force distribution system (EBD) made by Bosch. Electronic safety aids include side and rear imaging cameras, and six proximity sensors.
Except for electric bicycles, which have found a strong market in the Philippines, electric vehicles have been slow to gain traction in the country – a situation that has likely not been helped by the government’s lack of enthusiasm for the technology (having canceled the promising e-Trike program) and stubbornly high electricity costs. With more vehicles like the credible e6, however, electric cars may finally get the notice they deserve.
The e6 is just one of BYD’s lineup of environmentally friendly vehicles available at the three dealerships in the Philippines (on Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong, in Cebu, and in Batangas). Among other models is the hybrid Qin sport sedan, the S6 and S7 compact SUVs, the L3 Sedan; the F0 Mini-Sedan; and the F5 Suri Remote Control – a sedan that does exactly that, if it’s in visual range.