Electric conversion of old petrol and diesel vehicles can increase employment, reduce import of new cars, and reduce pollution.

The world trend is to use electric cars, but this does not mean that electric cars should be imported. It is not difficult to convert existing petrol and diesel cars to run on electricity. It is commonly done in many countries as DIY (do-it-yourself) projects in home garages. Some components such as motors, batteries, and controllers may need to be imported, but the value is quite small compared to the value of an entire car.

Sri Lanka has the technical skills and labour to make the conversions, but the Department of Motor Traffic does not allow converted (to electricity) vehicles in Sri Lanka to be registered for use on our roads. If this could be rectified, then this industry can bloom.

There is also great potential to do conversions (especially of classic cars) and export the electrified cars. In the case of classic car conversions, we can import the classic car, restore the body and frame, convert it to an EV (electric vehicle) and re-export it. Sri Lanka could be promoted as a world hub for EV conversions.

~ Johan De Livera

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