Electric cars – Nissan Leaf in particular—became the talk of the town after the proposed price revision from the 2016 budget where the price of the vehicle rocketed by around Rs. 2.5 million. This 100% electric car was launched in Sri Lanka in 2013 and has been steadily gaining popularity in the country since, both among the Colombo-folk and those from outstation areas alike.
Nation spoke top someone who owns a Leaf to get a better understanding about the vehicle. According to Isura, who has been a user since November 2013, and third in the country to purchase the said car, Nissan Leaf is a “true city car.”
Speaking further on the pluses, he said that liked the car as it is comfortable, with absolutely no noise and smoke – which is the very reason why he opted for it. Around the time he purchased it, he said the market price was around Rs. 42 lakhs. Isura also said the care required no regular services like fuel driven cars and had ample leg space.
When asked about the practical issues faced by Leaf users, Isura said that the absence of an admirable charging network in Sri Lanka even after 2 years is a hassle when it comes to travelling longer distances.
“As a Leaf user, I need to be ok with a range of 120km per charge. But I knew exactly what it was; I wanted an electric car that is easy to maintain and comfortable for me to drive in Colombo. When I go outstation I take public transport or hire a vehicle. So Leaf connected well with my personal aspirations,” he added.
When asked if he’d recommend the car to an aspiring buyer, he said he would; while also emphasizing that the government should give a clear indication whether they want to deter or encourage public to use electric cars.
“They should take a cue from European countries that encourage electric car usage due to environmental concerns. But it is a tricky question in Sri Lanka as much of the electricity is produced on coal, which does not necessarily makes Leaf eco-friendly,” said Isura who is a chemical and process engineer by profession.
At present, electricity in Sri Lanka is generated using three primary sources: thermal power (i.e. biomass, coal, and all other fuel-oil sources), hydro power (i.e. small hydro), and other non-conventional renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power .