Sri Lanka lubricants leader sees no threat from electric cars

COLOMBO, Dec 08, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Chevron Lubricants Lanka does not see an immediate threat from the growing use of electric and hybrid vehicles and says markets other than autos account for a big chunk of sales.

"The population of electric vehicles is pretty insignificant, not just in Sri Lanka but everywhere in the world. I don’t know how many years it will take for the market to have a substantial share of electric cars," chief executive Kishu Gomes said.

"But mind you the lubricant business is not just cars. It’s industrial as well – thermal power, rubber processing, rail engines, trucks, construction and earth moving equipment, and marine engines. That’s a huge market."

Gomes said even if there is a downward trend in the automobile market with the evolution of automotive propulsion technology there will still be a sizeable market for lubricant companies.

Sri Lanka has seen a sharp increase in registration of hybrid cars, although their overall numbers are still small, after the government cut import taxes to encourage their use in a bid to ensure cleaner air.

The trend follows a global shift to greater use of hybrid and electric vehicles in response to high petroleum prices and concern over global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions.

Gomes said Chevron Lubricants Lanka also supplies the fisheries sector where thousands of boats are used around the island.

"We supply lubricants for boat engines mainly in the fisheries sector. There’s a large population and that market is one that grows," he told EconomyNext in an interview after the commissioning of the firm’s new blending plant last week. 

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