By Quintus Perera
The Sunday Times
Sunday, July 23, 2017
To discuss these matters the EV Club met in Colombo last week where Mahisanka Abeywickrama, Co-Founder EV Club said that their main objective is to examine the problems confronted by them and find speedy solutions.
The current situation with regard to electric vehicles in Sri Lanka is that there are nearly 4,200 EVs running on the roads in addition to around 900 electric motorcycles in the country.
He said that after the tax increase on EVs in 2016 the import of EVs virtually stopped. In the first half of 2017, he said that they found a very small number of these vehicles were imported. He said that there are around 45 power charging stations for EVs in the country and urged that the number has to be further expanded.
He said that they have the issue of not having a power charging station at Welipenne Rest Area in the Southern Expressway. He said that there are several private investors ready to install such a power charging station at that point, but for strange reasons, the necessary approval could not yet be obtained. This power charging station is required there as it is the longest expressway, he stressed.
They were also concerned about the needs of the owners and the efficiency of the service providers, though there is very little maintenance required for EVs when compared to hybrid and fossil fuel combustion vehicles, Mr. Abeywickrama pointed out.
Current users at the moment are faced with problems of battery replacement as in Sri Lanka 90 per cent of the EVs are Nissan Leaf and the local agents are not undertaking the battery replacements. He said that there are other parties who claim that they could undertake battery replacements which are apparently entering the market.
Another major problem confronted by the EV owners is that there is a clause in the insurance policies of most of the insurance companies that they would pay only 10 per cent of the insured value of the battery and without properly going through the conditions EV Club members have signed these policies.
He said that they are now negotiating with insurance companies to solve this problem.
They were constrained to understand the attitude of the authorities in not facilitating the increase use of electric vehicles in the country and expressed concern that this may be due to the fossil fuel mafia and/or pressure from other vehicle manufacturers. Mr.Abeywickrama pointed that countries like Germany have decided to eliminate fossil fuel driven vehicles by 2030 and have only electric vehicles.
He said that the German Government is also believed to offer grants for those willing to use electric vehicles. Those EV owners who are willing to join EV Club are requested to go through the Club’s website – www.evclub.lk