Priority for EVs if import ban relaxed

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The Ministry of Environment has emphasised on importing Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the grounds of easing the importation of motor vehicles to the country by the Government, The Morning Business learns. 

Ministry of Environment

Speaking to us, the Ministry of Environment Media Secretary stated: “In spite of the cabinet approval to prepare a strategic plan to promote electric vehicles, the Government has banned the importation of motor vehicles into the country. Due to this reason, we (Ministry of Environment) have emphasised the prioritisation of the importation of electric vehicles that can run 500 km in a single charge, instead of fossil fuel vehicles in a situation when the Government allows the vehicle importers to resume with vehicle importing.”

The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal tabled by the Ministry of Environment on Monday (12), in order to prepare this strategic plan for promoting EVs in Sri Lanka with the objective of utilising renewable energy for vehicular operations with the country. 

This has been decided following the results of a research which was conducted by the University of Moratuwa along with few other institutions. The research showed that 60% of the air pollution in Sri Lanka, which later leads to respiratory illnesses, is caused by vehicular emissions.  

Apart from the approval for the strategic plan in order to popularise the use of EVs, the Media Secretary said there are three other factors that were considered as well. Accordingly, the other factor is for the preparation for the said strategic plan, a committee needs to be appointed which is formed of the Secretaries or the Secretary appointed representative to the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Industries, and Ministry of Finance. 

Thereafter, in order to support the mentioned Committee, a technical committee consisting of the industry experts of mentioned sectors needs to be appointed. Thus, the recommendations proposed by this technical committee are expected to finalise this strategic plan to be presented to the Cabinet.

When it comes to the establishment of charging stations, he said that the Ministry of Environment has suggested increasing the number of charging points from the existing 55 to 200 stations all over the country. 

Further speaking on the electric vehicle charging stations, the Media Secretary  highlighted that the fuel that is used for the charging of the vehicle needs to be from renewable energy as well, otherwise importing electric vehicles and the energy generated through fossil fuel is, in fact, futile. Therefore, the Ministry looks forward to suggesting the use of solar power in generating electricity for these vehicle charging stations. 

This became a concern for the Ministry of Environment because the air pollution has influenced spending a percentage of 7.75 from the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in treating respiratory diseases, he added. 

According to the statistics provided by the Department of Motor Traffic, the total number of fossil fuel motor vehicles that have been registered by the end of the year 2020 has exceeded the mark of 8 million. At the same time, a considerable portion of those vehicles are, in fact, older than 10 years, with lack of maintenance such vehicles leading to poisonous gas emissions.

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