An electric three -wheeler has been manufactured by a local entrepreneur for the first time in the Sri Lankan automobile history.
The inventor M. S. M. Rifkhan (Managing Director Sri Lanka Mobility (Pvt.) Ltd, has already built one three wheeler, powered a rechargeable battery c ells and has already completed 80% of the test run. The test which was very successful would be completed next week and the first five electric three wheelers would be ready from next January. We will put out 50 more by March 2018.”
He said that he had a passion to do something unique for the country and when he saw foreign exchange bleeding to import three wheelers and then for spare parts and also the environmental pollution he decided to find a solution for it.
He recalled that when he was in Europe he met former Sri Lanka Ambassador to the Netherlands and former Consul General in Frankfurt, Buddhi Athauda who introduced him to some of the electric car manufacturing companies to gain knowledge. “I then also toured China to meet up with electric battery manufactures. Later together with the Moratuwa University guidance and some under graduates who are now employed with him built the prototype vehicle.”
He also said that several surveys were also carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers UK, the second largest professional services firm in the world and other research agencies. “I have invested around Rs 250 million so far including the factory in Ratmalana.”
He said that the electric three-wheeler which would be branded as LENCAR and would be sold for Rs 500, 000 (including a taxi meter) which would be 40% less than competitors. LENCAR would be able to run 120 kilometers and would be powered by a Lithium battery that has to be charged daily. The LENCAR would be fully digitalized and technical support would be provided on-line 24 hours a day.
“The project would be initially active in Colombo 1 to 15 Zones due to availability of charging points.”
Rifkhan also said the budget 2018 proposals have given him a tremendous boost and encouragement and the government too behind his project.
He is now talking to Colombo Municipality to build several charging pillars along the main roads so that three wheelers could park at night and charge. In addition there would be a charging kit which would be introduced allowing three wheel drivers who have facilities at home to charge. “I am now talking to the Register of Motor Vehicles for the registration approvals of the LENCAR and hope this would be cleared soon.”
He said that the total project would create over 2,000 new employment opportunists in the first two years and it would also save around Rs 500 million monthly spent for the import of engine spares for current three- wheelers.