Tuktuks in Sri Lanka Can Now Choose to Go Green

Vega International CEO Harsha Subasinghe (left) with Mahesh Nanayakkara, CEO of CDB with battery-powered motorbike and tuktuk. (Image from eShift LinkedIn page)

Colombo, SRI LANKA (February 12, 2024) – Vega Innovations, best known for designing and building South Asia’s first electric supercar, Vega EVX, recently unveiled their service of converting existing gasoline and diesel three-wheelers (locally known as tuktuks) into electrically powered vehicles in Sri Lanka.

Vega Innovations is a startup company that is part of CodeGen International (Pvt) Ltd. By doing so, eShift hopes to play a part in reducing air and noise pollution, lowering the dependency on fossil fuels, eliminating carbon emissions into the environment, reducing operational wear and tear on vehicles, reducing overall operational costs for tuktuk owners/drivers and in turn, reducing the cost of transportation for commuters who use these vehicles. eShift has expanded the existing network of e-charging stations across the island to support the use of electric vehicles, promoting the widespread adoption of clean, green transportation options.

chargeNET, another subsidiary of CodeGen launched the eShift Concept Center in the heart of Colombo City, promoting sustainable mobility solutions along with an all-encompassing electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem. This ecosystem underscores the need for knowledge dissemination, EV charging infrastructure, and the initiative to convert conventional vehicles to EVs.

Electric-converted tuktuks newly added to the existing transportation fleet at Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Sri Lanka. (Image from Vega International LinkedIn page)

Currently, there are more than 1 million tuktuks plowing the streets of Sri Lanka, all of which run on fossil fuels. With sufficient public awareness of the benefits of converting these vehicles to EVs, Vega hopes for a cleaner, greener future, one tuktuk at a time.

At the moment, the Concept Center has two conversion bays and seven charging stations, of which two are fast charging stations that are solely for the use of three-wheelers.

Mahesh Nanayakkara, CEO of Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB), who partnered with Vega in this venture, said: “As a responsible corporate steward, we have committed to accelerate sustainable mobility solutions by promoting EVs and EV infrastructure, in addition to knowledge sharing. With over one million three-wheelers on our roads, carbon emissions, oil spillage, and noise pollution—all health hazards to drivers—have a massive impact on climate change. The lasting positive impact this initiative can make is unimaginable.”

Commenting on the partnership further, CEO of both Vega Innovations and ChargeNET, Dr. Harsha Subasinghe stated: “Together, we’re pioneering a sustainable Sri Lanka powered by EVs, while revolutionising the three-wheeler industry. Through knowledge sharing on EVs, conversions and charging solutions, we’re electrifying the future, one vehicle at a time. Together, we’re not just innovators; we’re trailblazers in building a greener, more eco-conscious Sri Lanka.”

In addition to converting fuel-powered engines to electric engines, Vega subsidiary Elektrateq designed and manufactured fully electric tuktuks in Sri Lanka. The EV tuktuks are to be promoted, especially for use in the tourism industry. In a Facebook post on the official Jetwing Hotels page, the hotel chain announced that they have taken steps to become the first commercial user of the locally designed and manufactured tuktuks, with Jetwing Colombo Seven offering the use of these tuktuks for guilt-free, zero-emission rides around the city.

In another leap towards accelerating sustainable mobility solutions, especially in the tourism sector, CDB and Vega partnered with Ananrata Hotels, Resorts, and Spas Peace Haven Tangalle Resort by handing over 7 electric-converted tuktuks to add to its existing fleet of transportation options.