The Nissan Leaf Is Finally Here and It's Right on Time


It took 10 years and 500,000 units sold elsewhere in the world, but the Nissan Leaf is finally in Manila. The Japanese carmaker’s full battery electric vehicle made its official debut in the country on Sunday via a Facebook Live reveal, but really, the story of the Leaf’s arrival here stretches back at least three years.

In 2018, a Leaf unit was one of the highlights at that year’s Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit at the SMX Convention Center. The big question then was when it was going to be made commercially available in this country, especially since it was being rolled out in at least seven other Asian countries that year.

Photo by Nissan Philippines.

“It’s still under study,” Nic Thomas, Nissan global director for EVs, told me during a special walk through for the car back then. “We haven’t confirmed we’re introducing it to the Philippines yet. We’re certainly hoping we’ll be able to.”

What was the problem then?

“There’s no specific problem (why the Philippines doesn’t yet have the Leaf),” he said. “It all depends on customers, on demand. The Philippines is at the start of an exciting journey. There is clearly a strong interest in electric vehicles in this market, which is fantastic. Customers have to come first. We have to create the conditions where customers really want electric vehicles and they see a benefit to them, and that’s happening and it’s great.” 

Three years later, it seems Nissan couldn’t ignore how ripe the Philippines is for EV adoption.

“Finally bringing the Nissan LEAF to the Philippines is a high point in our efforts throughout the years to inform and educate the Filipino public on the benefits of EV adoption,” said Atsushi Najima, President and Managing Director of Nissan in the Philippines. “The Nissan LEAF is key to realizing our vision of enriching Filipino lives towards a more connected, sustainable, and resilient society.”

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“The Nissan LEAF's launch in the Philippines is the latest chapter in our electrification strategy in ASEAN,” added regional vice president for Nissan ASEAN Isao Sekiguchi. “This is part of Nissan's DNA of daring to do what others don't as we make electrified mobility more accessible to the people in the region.”

No pressure

During an exclusive roundtable, Najima stressed that there is no pressure to sell a specific number of Leafs in the Philippines precisely because the country is still very much in the infant stages of EVs. The goal is to introduce people to the concept of EVs, demystify it for those who have driven nothing else but cars with traditional internal combustion engines, and allay fears about using EVs on local roads. 

Photo by Nissan Philippines.

In the latest study by business consulting and market research and analysis firm Frost and Sullivan, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents in Southeast Asia said they are more willing now to consider buying an EV than they were five years ago. In addition, about 37 percent said they would consider an EV as their next car purchase within the next three years.

As one of the first to introduce a full battery EV to market in the country, that puts Nissan in prime position to be top of mind for that first wave of car buyers who will make the big switch to electric.

Nissan Leaf 101

For those who are already considering buying a Nissan Leaf, you’ll no doubt have already done your due diligence and read up about what makes it so special. But just in case, here are the most important points you need to know: 

- The Nissan LEAF can cover 311 kilometers (about the distance between Manila and San Fernando, La Union) when fully charged. For reference, the average driving distance around Metro Manila per day is only 13.2 km. 


There are three primary ways to charge the Nissan Leaf, according to consumer preference and ease. Charging at home, usually overnight, with a standard universal cable can be done right away. It takes up to 18 and a half hours to fully charge the Nissan LEAF (coming from low battery status). Using a wall box can also be installed at home or in any establishment; this takes up to seven and a half hours per charge session. Finally, there are quick charging stations at three Nissan showrooms where you could take your car to get them charged: Nissan Mantrade, Nissan Otis, and Nissan Cebu South (V. Rama). At least four other Nissan showrooms will be equipped to charge the Leaf within the year, with more expected to follow in the coming years.

Photo by Nissan Philippines.

- Electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which means they are a good environmental choice. Moreover, electric vehicles allow a reduction in noise pollution, a growing issue in urban centers. The Nissan Leaf has a running noise level of 21 decibels, compared to the average 82 decibels that a car produces when driving at 80 kilometers per hour. 

The price tag for the Nissan Leaf has been announced and, at P2.798 million, it’s certainly not cheap. However, when you factor in maintenance costs over the lifespan of the car, not to mention how much you’ll save on fuel, you might end up actually saving more. (Nissan calculates spending P360 to 370 on electricity for a full charge based on current Meralco prices). Besides, according to studies, by 2027, electric cars will become much cheaper to produce than fossil fuel vehicles.

It might not seem that way now, but the future of mobility seems to be electric, and getting an EV like the Leaf is sounding more and more like a sound investment not just in terms of money, but moreso on the environment and the future.

Photo by Nissan Philippines.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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