The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), the most senior automotive association in South Asia, have raised serious concerns about the importation of used Electric Vehicles to Sri Lanka. In order to minimize the negative impact to the consumer, environment, society, and the economy, it is imperative that the country imports EVs which are directly shipped by the manufacturer with the recommendation for this tropical climate.
EVs built for colder climates may not be suitable for tropical regions as they might not have the required HV battery cooling systems. The CMTA further warns that EVs purchased and imported through importers who are not the agents for the respective brand, might not come with a proper warranty cover to protect the consumer. Used EVs that are shipped over to Sri Lanka may have HV batteries which could have damages that is not visible externally. Manufacturers’ warranties are a minimum of 5 years for passenger cars and 3 years for two-wheelers, in order to protect the consumer’s interest.
Another one of the CMTA’s biggest concerns is the disposal High Voltage (HV) batteries, as it can be extremely hazardous to both the environment and ground water systems, if not disposed of properly. Therefore, the CMTA recommends that EV importers should be signed up with a battery recycling/ re-exporting company Due to the impact that improper disposing of HV batteries and other components may cause, it is also important to establish a legal framework to prosecute people who do so.
It is important to note that the landed cost of an HV battery could vary from Rs.5 million upwards for most EVs, or approximately 50% of the CIF value of the vehicle. It is therefore imperative that any EVs imported into the country must be imported within 6 months of manufacture, as it would negate the negative impacts HV batteries might have.
Charaka Perera, Chairman of the CMTA said, ‘It is imperative that we encourage the importation of Brand New EVs directly from the manufacturer as opposed to used ones. Vehicle electrification will bode very well for Sri Lanka, and we must ensure that the necessary steps are taken to ensure these vehicles are imported properly and that they do not pose environmental or economic threat to the country.”