Problem: Sri Lanka has over 1 million three-wheelers, the harmful emissions given out by these vehicles contribute drastically to air pollution and global warming.
Solution: An electric conversion kit that would enable the tuk-tuks (three-wheeler auto rickshaws) to run on electric power.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to decarbonize the transport sector, by converting auto rickshaws to an electric powertrain, and enable them to operate just like any other electric vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions.
Implementation: Taking up the challenge, 33 year old Sri Lankan engineer and lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, Sasiranga De Silva, has an innovative solution to the problem of the harmful emissions by auto rickshaws. Aiming to make, Sri Lanka’s favourite mode of local transportation safer for the environment and its citizens, he created the electric conversion kit for auto rickshaws to run on electric power. The kit itself is based around a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can cover 110 km on a single charge. This reduces harmful emissions and works on lowered energy consumption. Another incredible benefit of this sustainable solution is that it’s a money-saving option.
A key challenge for De Silva has been making sure that his conversion kit is affordable for tuk tuk drivers, who generally pay around 700,000 Sri Lankan rupees (around US$4,000) to buy their vehicle. Given that De Silva has estimated that the converter kit could save drivers around US$1,000 a year, he found most tuk tuk owners felt US$2,000 would be affordable.
His battery pack will allow drivers to cover around 110 km per day. There are already some electric vehicle charging points at supermarkets in Colombo but he will also provide chargers, which can be used in a regular socket, allowing the drivers to recharge their vehicles overnight when electricity tariffs are lower.
Achievements: Sasiranga De Silva is one of 12 winners of the UN Environment Asia-Pacific Low-Carbon Lifestyles Challenge in 2019.
Mr. Sasiranga De Silva