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Japanese startup plans Sri Lanka’s first electric vehicle plant

May 03, 2018 (LBO) - Tokyo based high-tech research and development startup is planning Sri Lanka’s first ever large, industry scale electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility.

The proposed EV manufacturing operation is to take off by producing Sri Lanka’s first ever smart, “EV tuk-tuks.”

The startup from Tokyo is also setting up international standard EV charging systems known as “micro-grid” stations across the country, as part of their hi-tech transfer to Sri Lanka.

A Japanese investment team consisting of key executives of Tokyo’s Future Science Research Inc (FSRI), along with high ranking former Japanese officials are in the island to lay the initial groundwork for the project.

“We are not coming to Sri Lanka because of the availability of resources -such as cheap labour. If that is the case we can go to some other destination where the resources are available even cheaper,"  Akihiko Matsumura, chairman of Tokyo based Future Science Research Inc (FSRI) said.

He also spoke of the company's long term operational interests in Sri Lanka.
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"We are not coming here to make inexpensive products either -but we are entering due to our long term vision, well established history of Sri Lanka-Japan cooperation, and the need for us to have a good base from where we can win in the competitive automotive world,”

“We are not looking for conventional production or assembly either-we want to go with cutting edge tech. We look to team up with many Lankan firms in joint ventures. As a start we are looking to launch the local EV industry by introducing new innovations to Sri Lankan vehicle market."

He says that the entire (proposed) output is for the Sri Lankan market and we can consider exports after meeting local market requirements.

"One of the major advantages for Sri Lanka by enlisting our company is that unlike large global vehicle manufacturing corporations, we are quick to respond to the market."

However the planned investment value of the proposed EV initiative was not disclosed.

In the 10 year period of 2007-2017, Sri Lanka received Japanese FDI investments totaling  273 million US dollars while there are 85 Japanese private sector projects in operation in the island at present.

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