''A world without petrol" is a concept that started to gain increased traction due to the increasing pollution of the environment caused by exhaust fumes from vehicles. In hopes of addressing the issue at hand, people started to innovate new ways by which to manufacture vehicles, and thus ‘Electric Vehicles’ came to be through years of hard work carried out by inventors and engineers all over the world. Today, electric vehicles have become a more popular choice for personal vehicle purchases among many. In Sri Lanka, the concept of electric vehicles gained more popularity after the invention of "Vega", the first electric car produced in Sri Lanka. Therefore, to further increase awareness among the new generation on electric vehicles, a Panel Discussion on ‘Context of Electric Vehicles in Sri Lanka’ was organized by IEEE Power Electronics Society SBC of University of Moratuwa in collaboration with the Electrical Engineering Society of UoM on the 5th of June 2021. The panelists for the day were Prof. Udayanga Hemapala (Head of Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Moratuwa), Dr. Beshan Kulapala (Director, Vega Innovation), and Eng. Ronald Comester (Deputy General Manager, Research & Development, CEB). This venture was moderated by Prof. Chandima D. Pathirana of the Department of Electrical Engineering, UoM.
A participation of over 270 individuals was noted from the beginning till the end of the discussion. Each panelist expressed their own opinions on the topic concerning their fields of expertise and the relevant questions from the active audience turned the discussion into a fruitful and engaging one. The attention was brought to the current trend of the electric vehicle market in Sri Lanka and the rising demand for charging stations and reliable batteries. Also, the panelists talked about how the European countries have moved towards electrification of cities and what market trends would be noticed in the future. The audience was enthusiastic to ask questions mostly related to their own vehicles and of the measures taken by the government to enhance the EV market and facilitate the users. Also, the technologies used and under-development were discussed and the vehicle, ‘Nissan Leaf’, received the prime of attention as it is commonly used in Sri Lanka. Further, the panelists explained the limitations and inabilities of the country to move towards facilitating the use of electric vehicles and what aspects to be developed to promote EVs in Sri Lanka. The vigilant guidance of the moderator ensured that the maximum was obtained from the panelists on board and received by the attendees in the allocated time. As there were no restrictions for participation, the event was also streamed through the Facebook page of the IEEE PELS SBC of University of Moratuwa. Finally, the panel discussion was a huge success and the audience was quite excited and thankful for the venture.
In summary, it could be noted that the Panel Discussion on ‘Context of Electric Vehicles in Sri Lanka’ powered by IEEE PELS SBC of University of Moratuwa in collaboration with the Electrical Engineering Society of UoM, was a thought-provoking and well-rounded discussion that encompassed all the aspects of the chapter and gladly it was a wink hinting to the excellent upcoming year of the SBC.