Location: Colombo- Sri Lanka
Restrictions: A24 Subscribers
While electric cars have come to be known as a preferred option for many due to the cost-efficient benefits they offer, Sri Lankans are still finding it a difficult choice to make amid the lack of charging points and as it is still a relatively new technology in the country. Many countries, especially the economically developed countries, are in the course of transferring their vehicle fleets to become electric. Indika Sampath Mirinchige, who is the chairman of the vehicle importers association of Sri Lanka, said that Sri Lanka can leverage its location and the fact that the sunlight is always there, adding that the solar power from the sun should charge the cars; hence, cutting the fuel charges. He urged the authorities to popularize electric cars in Sri Lanka. Niruksha Kumara, National Organizer of the All Ceylon Small Industries Association, said the main question is whether this fits into the situation of Sri Lanka or not. He worried that the lack of charging points for electric cars in the country is a source of annoyance for Sri Lankans, adding that although the government is keen on reassuring people that they will reduce taxes on electric cars, they should address logistical issues.
(Soundbite) Indika Sampath Mirinchige – the Chairman of the vehicle importers association of Sri Lanka:
“In general, the battery of an electric vehicle is more expensive than the average vehicle. We need to find the answer to how we handle it. We need to think about how to deal with the current situation in the country, we are facing the problem of foreign exchange reserves. I think in the long run, if the government manages this properly with proper management, the government will not be able to think about taxes when importing these vehicles. Moreover, if we think for about the next five years with the geographic location of Sri Lanka, a country where there is always sunlight, we can generate electricity from solar power to homes. If we use solar panels, the benefits of these vehicles will be immense for the country. Now let’s say we import these fuels, because, in general, the cost of these fuels can be avoided. So what we can take from this natural environment is this solar power, which we just get, through which we can drive. With that technology, we need to popularize these electric vehicles in the future in Sri Lanka.”
(Soundbite) Mr. Niruksha Kumara, National Organizer of the All Ceylon Small Industries Association:
“The focus should be on how well this fits into our country. In particular, it’s cheap to drive an electric vehicle, but it’s a bit of a hassle to drive and maintain. In particular, now the government and political authorities are always telling us before the budget that we will reduce taxes on these electric cars and move on to electric vehicles. That’s good, but the controllers and the government are quite confused about this electric vehicle issue. One of the major problems we face after importing electric vehicles into our country is the lack of charging points in the country, which can be seen as a major dilemma. Before importing electric vehicles we need to have built charging stations everywhere. If electric vehicles are imported without charging stations, then it will be a massive problem that we face in the future. Before we set up charging stations, there’s another big crisis, that’s the power crisis, so we need to find a lasting solution to this power crisis and import these vehicles.”
(Soundbite) Mr. Indika Sampath Mirinchige – the Chairman of the vehicle importers association:
“We have this tax anomaly in our country. The price of these vehicles will go down only this year, this should be reduced to three. Also, the money has been reduced to a lesser extent, now I know that to encourage the various developed countries in the world have decided to increase the tax on petrol vehicles, while on the other hand a refund will be given for hybrid vehicles. So, even if the government levies a tax on such vehicles and raises a solar unit, the government should reimburse the person who imported such a vehicle and encourage them to drive this vehicle. Such incentives need to be developed. That’s why I always emphasize that we need to create a system.”
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