At a media briefing last week in Colombo, Sampath Marenchige, president of the Vehicle Importers' Association of Lanka, said that the Sri Lanka's motor vehicle market is moving toward EVs because they're "zero pollution." The largest vehicle importers' organization in the country (over 280 companies) believes importing electric vehicle will be an important trend in 2014 – a significant development for the local car market. The fast expansion of a charging network on the island is another significant indicator of EV growth in the small country off the southern coast of India.
The media briefing was held to promote EVs and to praise the recent decision by Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal to withdraw the 100-percent cash margin requirement for importing vehicles. The cash margin requirement was severely increasing the cost of importing vehicles, thus causing car prices to go way up and discouraging small-scale vehicle importers, Merenchige said. Merenchige also made a reference to the history of EVs and how their production was crushed nearly a hundred years ago by Big Oil. He thinks that recent boost in EV production is due to influence of environmental groups around the world.
While the Asia-Pacific region is expected to play a big part in global EV sales growth in the next few years, Sri Lanka has never been a big marketplace. The Reva EV was the first EV on sale there, and we'll be interested to see if other EVs are launched there now that the rules are in their favor.