The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) together with the Association of International Marketing Graduates in Sri Lanka (AIMG) recently organized a joint forum titled “Road to Electrification” at Jetwing Colombo, which delved into the future of the EV market in Sri Lanka.
The joint forum was participated by over 100 automotive industry experts, marketers, corporate leaders, executives, and professionals and was aimed at initiating productive discussion within the community and imparting knowledge on the introduction of EV to the Sri Lankan market and its impact on the economy of Sri Lanka.
The speakers at the event included Dr. Harsha Subasinghe, founder of VEGA, the first electric super car made in Sri Lanka; Dr. Niles Perera, logistics specialist from the University of Moratuwa; Ms. Maricor Muzones, regional program development lead for GGGI; and Mr. Lalith De Alwis, additional secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Highways. Mr. Yasendra Amerasinghe, immediate past Chairman of CMTA and CEO of Carmart (Pvt) Ltd, served as the moderator.
A vibrant and thought-provoking panel discussion took place, with the speakers sharing their knowledge of technical expertise, environmental protection, and regulatory policy development requirements to embrace the EV age. While both the pros & cons of the EV rollout was well highlighted, one key factor which was established was the need to strongly regulate the EV eco-system and for the need to allow only manufacturer authorized brand-new electric vehicles to the country.
In his introduction, Dr. Subasinghe stated that “the future for electrically powered vehicles is very bright” and delved into the benefits and issues of EVs that we need to overcome. He further stressed the importance of charging networks and the exportation of charges to other countries, and he shared his wealth of experience on batteries, controllers, etc. Speaking in terms of electricity generation, Dr. Subasinghe delved into SMR (small modular reactor) systems and the possibility of Sri Lanka adapting them.
Ms. Maricor Muzones spoke on GGGI, which is a treaty-based organization operating to get the principle of green growth in Sri Lanka. In her opinion, “Sri Lanka has put in many development policies, out of which the transport policy is now being reviewed for strengthening.” Although the mandate is available, how it should be operationalized is the question. “GGGI is looking at supporting the government and there should be an operational plan’. GGGI’s role is to support the government of Sri Lanka; however, Muzones believes the involvement of the private sector is vital.
Mr. De Alwis, as a Sri Lanka Government representative, stated, “Transport is the key factor to the economy, and there are guidelines being prepared for EV vehicles with the support of the UNDP.” De Alwis also spoke on the financial issues and the national transport action plan that is being prepared, including e-mobility, technology, environmental protection, infrastructure, etc. Concluding, De Alwis spoke on the policy changes needed and highlighted the important factors relating to the awareness of EV. He also stated that by 2030, there will be an action plan in place to develop renewable energy sources up to 70%, and he asked for private sector participation in this effort.
Dr. Niles stated that in transportation there is a lot of movement toward sustainable transportation, mentioning that EV is the fastest developing technology. The aim should be to move faster with better sustainable resources, and in order to do that, it is important to look at the supply chains for electric vehicles, such as mining and so on. He also stated that “there should be a plan to train people, provide charging stations, and build other infrastructure to support electric mobility.” Converting the existing fleet to electric vehicles is not feasible. For the transition, a new fleet of electric vehicles should be brought in, and in terms of energy, his point was to ensure Sri Lanka’s energy security while putting the required regulations and infra-structure in place.
The event concluded with a question-and-answer session. The corporate partners of CMTA and AIMG are SLIC, HNB Leasing, SLT-Mobitel, Sampath Bank & Emerging Media.
Founded in 1919, the Ceylon Motor Traders Association is affiliated with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and is widely accepted as the voice of the Sri Lankan automotive industry. It is the most senior automotive trade association in the region and represents all major international automotive manufacturers through its agents.
The Association of International Marketing Graduates Sri Lanka (AIMGSL) was established in July 2020 by veterans of the marketing industry boasting over three decades of expertise and experience, with its main focus being to create a dynamic and professional association with international marketing qualifications, connecting young and senior members to create a platform for knowledge sharing via workshops, programs, and various other activities. Its objective remains to aid Sri Lanka-based marketers to stay at the forefront of their professions and the market.