Can you buy an electric car in the Philippines?

Updated Nov 24, 2022 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

More importantly, is it advisable to buy one?

Electric cars in the Philippines are now getting more traction for Filipino car buyers due to various reasons such as the introduction of new electric vehicle (EV) models in the country. Although there is still work to do to further expand the EV network, it is without a doubt that the Philippines is ready to take on the challenge of adding more EVs to the local market.

Nissan LEAF front view

EVs are the inescapable future

When driving around town, it is really rare to spot an advertisement or promotion consisting of an electric vehicle, or at least the benefits of owning one. Car buyers in the country still tend to opt for practical options which usually use an internal combustion engine (ICE).  This is one of the few subtle reasons why EVs are still yet to storm the Philippine market.

Most Filipinos are still unaware as to if they can buy electric cars in the Philippines, at least legally. For this reason, read on as we have listed down everything you need to know about owning an electric car and what are the options the local auto market is offering including their prices.

I. Can I register an electric car locally?

So, what is the real stand of EVs in the country? If we take a look at the government instituted Executive Order 488, it states that the government is authorized to modify the existing rates of import duty of hybrid and electric cars. This includes the components, parts, and accessories for the assembly of the EVs.

In other words, the importation of electric cars in the Philippines is not illegal. In fact, EO 488 states that hybrid and electric vehicles can help improve the energy efficiency of transportation in the country.

Now this explains why some vehicles of the electric automotive company giant, Tesla, can be seen in the streets of the Philippines. Driving one of these Tesla units in the country sure is a treat, especially for those who are longing for Tesla to be brought here.

Hyundai's HD50S Modern Jeepney Class 3 front view

Hyundai's HD50S Modern Jeepney Class 3

Well, you might ask, how about the Land Transportation Office (LTO)? What does the agency say about this matter? Can I register an electric car in the Philippines? The short answer: yes. 

With the country’s initiative to replace old jeeps with E-Jeeps, the registration of electric vehicles has already been operationalized. LTO said that it approves the registration of EVs under a few and apparent conditions.

All Manufacturers, Assemblers, Importers, and Dealers (MAIDs) of EVs must comply with LTO’s requirement for classification and initial registration to officially register an EV unit. See the list below for reference:

Requirements for Classification

Requirements for Initial Registration

  1. Letter-request for classification

  2. Specification of the electric vehicle

  3. Photos of the vehicle submitted for classification

  4. Motor Vehicle Inspection Report from LTO Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (MVIC)

  1. Original Sales Invoice

  2. Certificate of Stock Reported (CSR)
    Note: Certificate of Payment/Certification for component/s from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is required prior to the application for CSR

  3. Original PNP-HPG MV Clearance

  4. Appropriate Insurance Certificate of Cover

According to the government agency, MAIDs should submit the specifications to the LTO not later than three months prior to the introduction of any new EV model in the market. With this, the LTO will be able to determine the classification and Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) of the new EV model.

Of note, the MVUC of EVs is similar to the conventional counterparts that use gasoline and diesel engines. The LTO has also designated special lanes for the registration of EVs to fast-track transactions. If there are no special lanes in an LTO office, EV transactions will be assigned at Senior Citizen/PWD lanes.

In conclusion, yes, you can import electric cars in the Philippines and you can legally register it to make it road legal. As long as you provide the LTO with the proper certifications and documents, then you shouldn’t worry about anything.

>>> Related: Should you buy an Electric Vehicle (EV): Why or Why not?

II. Are there available EVs in the Philippine market? How much is the electric car price in the Philippines?

Now you discovered that EVs are legal in the Philippines. You might be asking, are there EVs I can buy locally? If so, how much are electric cars in the Philippines? There are, however, only a few are sold. As mentioned earlier, the marketing of EVs in the country is yet to be developed.

The Hyundai Ioniq EV is one of the few full electric vehicles in the country. It is a sedan that uses a permanent magnet synchronous motor that produces 118 hp and 295 Nm of torque. Priced at Php 2,050,000, the Hyundai Ioniq EV has a driving range rated at 200 km.

Hyundai Ioniq EV front view

Hyundai Ioniq EV

Hyundai has another EV to offer, namely the Kona EV. It is designed to provide a great feel of what an EV should be. The twin headlights design and no grille look will definitely make the Kona EV an instant head-turner.

Powering the Kona EV is a permanent magnet synchronous motor that makes 134 hp and a whopping 395 Nm of torque. Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, is selling the Kona EV for Php 2,388,000 via indent order.

The Hyundai Kona EV

Hyundai Kona EV

Chery Auto Philippines is continuously making strategic moves as it introduces the Arrizo 5e in the local market. It is, however, available only via indent order and is priced around Php 1,900,000. Under the hood, the Arrizo 5e uses a permanent magnet synchronous motor making 160 hp and 250 Nm of torque.

Chery Arrizo 5e front view

Chery Arrizo 5e

Lastly, we have the Nissan LEAF which was finally launched by Nissan Philippines last May 2021. It is the Japanese car brand's renowned EV that is considered as one of the best in the global market, going against the likes of Tesla and BAIC. Last year, Nissan rolled out the LEAF’s 500,000 production unit after ten years of competing in the auto industry.

Nissan Philippines is offering the LEAF with one variant only priced at Php 2,798,000. Powering the EV is an electric motor that is capable of generating 150 hp and 320 Nm of torque. In one full charge, it can travel up to 311 kilometers, which should be enough for the daily commutes of most Filipinos. The charging time normally takes around 18.5 hours, while charging with the optional Wall Box Charges cuts it to 7.5 hours only.

Nissan LEAF front view

Nissan LEAF

III. Would it be advisable to buy one of these?

An electric vehicle can provide so many benefits. It can help you save plenty of cash as fuel prices in the Philippines these days are relatively high. Plus, electric vehicles are environmentally friendly. EVs can help reduce the ever-growing air pollution in the country, as well.

Moreover, EVs are cheaper to maintain as compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Why? Electric cars have fewer moving parts that are prone to breaking down and EVs don’t need periodic oil changes.

On the flip side, the bleak popularity of electric cars in the Philippines means that quick charging stations are still remotely available. You must always plan your trips to avoid running on a low charge. However, if you choose an EV for your daily drive in the city, then there’s nothing to worry about since you can always charge at home.

A Tesla filling up its battery

The Philippines is yet to fully adapt to the EV era

So is it advisable to buy an electric car in the Philippines? It depends on you. EVs have their pros and cons. It’s a matter of if you can deal with them or not. Take note that in the future, internal combustion engine vehicles will be phased out starting 2030. As such, it seems like it is the ideal time to make the switch.

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Know more about Nissan LEAF 2023

Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF 2023 Philippines is a 5-door hatchback fitted with an all-electric powertrain. It is offered in the Philippines with one variant only which is priced at Php 1,998,000. Powering this electric vehicle (EV) is a synchronous electric motor capable of generating 148 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque. A 40-kWh lithium-ion battery is used, which aids the model's 311 km range. Only a single-speed gear reduction system is utilized to exclusively send power to the front wheels.

Dimensions-wise, the LEAF has a length of 4,490 mm, a width of 1,788 mm, and a height of 1,540, with ground clearance and wheelbase rated at 155 mm and 2,700 mm, respectively. This is the first and only commercially-available EV in the country. But in the all-electric options, the alternatives of Filipino car buyers include the Porsche Taycan, Hyundai Ioniq EV, and BYD E6.

₱ 1,998,000

Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.


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