The 3rd letter tells the enforcer that you are exempt from ‘coding’

The auto industry is abuzz with the influx of electrified cars entering the market. We now have several hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicles available and running on Philippine roads.

As cars get more and more diverse, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) recently issued a memo differentiating private motor vehicles with classifications such as electric vehicles, hybrids, private trailers, and vintage models.

Hybrid and EV (electric vehicle) owners should be pretty stoked now. Their vehicles can easily be recognized as either a BEV (battery-electric vehicle) or PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), HEV (hybrid electric vehicle), and even LEV (light electric vehicle) based on two letters on the license plate.

So, how does the regular Juan tell what kind of new energy vehicle you are in? LTO’s memo categorizes your electrified vehicle as either electric or hybrid. What sets them apart is just the middle letter in the alphanumeric series. EVs (electric vehicles) get any letter from A to M, while hybrids receive anything from N to Z. By itself, the second letter means nothing; conventional models will also have any of those. What makes it special is this third letter – like a Ph.D. after the last name, except this is just one letter. If you spot a V, W, X, Y, or Z before the four numbers, that vehicle is electrified, either fully or as a hybrid.

Here’s how the LTO plate series distinguishes between EV, hybrid image

That is what traffic enforcers will be eyeing. Any of the last five letters of the alphabet tells them they cannot flag you down during "coding" days because that is one of your incentives as a new energy vehicle owner.

Here’s how the LTO plate series distinguishes between EV, hybrid image

For motorcycles, the leftmost letter is followed by three numbers and the last two letters. The second letter is either V, W, X, Y, or Z for electrics and hybrids, but the last letter is a choice between A to M for electric-powered models and N to Z for hybrid units.

With a recent issuance from the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding their recognized hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles, concerned government agencies will be very busy ironing out policies. The DOE for their part, cited the EVIDA (Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act) implementing rules and regulations, to be categorized as an EV, PHEV, BEV, or LEV, the vehicle’s electric system must be able to move the vehicle forward.

As to how the LTO plans to identify (or re-identify) already registered and plated EVs, PHEVs, HEVs, and LEVs remains to be seen.

If you get flagged down for violating "coding", be patient and present your supporting documents to the apprehending officer.