EV Lanka (Electric Cars).

UPDATE: The showroom isn’t on Duplication Rd anymore, their listed office is Hill Street, Dehiwala.

We don’t normally cover car sales, but this is pretty awesome. EV Lanka sells electric vehicles, starting with the Nissan Leaf. This car plugs into the wall and for about Rs. 500 worth of juice will take you to Galle (they say the range is 150 km, for crappy Colombo traffic it’s probably closer to 70). It’s zero-emissions as well. Like we said, pretty awesome.

The Car

This is the car, which comes in a few colors. It’s not especially slick looking but it is some brilliant tech.

The main feat is the charger, as shown, which either plugs into a regular wall plug (which we still find somewhat baffling to see) or into a fast-charging station. Regular charging is best done overnight, but the fast charger promises up to 80% capacity in 30 minutes. Sri Lanka doesn’t have any fast charging stations yet but we’re a small country uniquely suited to electric cars. If you put fast chargers on the highway, in Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Kandy, Vavuniya, Habarana and a few other places you could quite effectively cover the whole country. They say that they’re installing a few soon.

Once you sit down in the car it’s quite well appointed inside. What’s different is that it has a power button (which detects if you’re holding the keychain nearby) and it uses a sort of joystick to change gears. Being parked indoors, we didn’t get a chance to drive it around. According to Wikipedia, the Leaf has a max speed of around 150 kmph and goes 0-100 kmph in about 10 seconds. Neither of these are statistics you’ll have much opportunity to test in Sri Lanka.

The interior

The cost of a Nissan Leaf (as of our publication time, March 2014, obviously subject to change) is Rs. 4.4 mn to Rs. 4.6 for a 2012 model and 5.4-5.6 mn for a 2013. These cars have only being selling for a very short time so we can’t comment on after sales service beyond saying that it is provided.

The Market

As we’ve mentioned here and there in this review, we think there’s a lot of scope for electric cars in Sri Lanka. Namely because:

  1. Our electricity isn’t cheap, but it’s still cheaper to run an electric car than a petrol or diesel one.
  2. It’s very nice to not spew emissions across our small island.
  3. It’s a small island, so we can quickly get coverage with fast charging stations.

Beyond that, electric cars are just cool. The Leaf isn’t the most futuristic looking car, but it’s really a revolution in terms of personal transport. It operates like a normal car, just without petrol or emissions. Wonderful that it’s available in Sri Lanka now.

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