INVENTING WITH PASSION | From their little workshop at the heart of Colombo, a small team of determined engineers, designers and passionate car lovers has inspired a young generation and put Sri Lanka on the world map. This is the story of the Vega EVX.
”Why not build a car in Sri Lanka? Nobody’s ever tried it before.”
As a dedicated environmentalist and tech enthusiast, Dr. Harsha Subasinghe dreamed of owning a supercar. After spending most of his life in the UK, he returned to his homeland only to realise that such an investment would cost him millions. Rather than accepting that his dream was out of reach, he decided to put a local team together with one, shared vision: Build Sri Lanka’s first electric supercar.
”It was a bold step and I didn't know how to do it, but I was determined that I wanted to build an electric supercar.”
As it turned out, he wasn't the only one dreaming of creating something that would not only stand out from the tuk-tuks occupying the buzzing streets of Colombo, but also turn heads on the international scene for high-end, electric vehicles.
Within a few months, a small group of talented local engineers and designers joined to conceptualise and build what would eventually become the car of their dreams.
Ambitious craftsmanshipWith the backing of his software company, CodeGen International, Subasinghe founded Vega Innovations in 2013 together with Dr. Beshan Kulapala, who became the director.
Unlike some of the other electric vehicle projects around the world, we decided to build all the electronic components ourselves.
This basically meant that Vega had to source all materials and spare parts from different corners of the world into their workshop in Colombo before assembling the highly advanced components. It was a complicated and delicate process, but the team had a point to prove: “We can do this in Sri Lanka.”
The need for speed – and trust
To make the dream come true and bring the car all the way from the workshop in Sri Lanka to the world stage at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show 2020 in Switzerland and back, Vega partnered with Maersk.
Tailoring the full, end-to-end logistics journey of a valuable and unique car presented an interesting challenge for Maersk’s team in Sri Lanka. Being the first and only one of its kind, there was no local experience to rely on, and the Vega EVX prototype demanded more intensive care than most types of cargo.
With support from a specialised vendor and colleagues with extensive experience from automotive transport and logistics in other parts of the world, the team developed a customised solution.
“Shipping a high-value supercar requires a full-service solution with one point of contact that reduces our workload. We felt relaxed to have found a reliable and trusted end-to-end logistics partner in Maersk. The entire journey was supervised with dedicated teams that constantly monitored our car with full visibility and real-time tracking, and it really gave us peace of mind,” says Dr. Harsha Subasinghe.
Siddharth Iyer, Country Manager for Maersk in Sri Lanka, adds:
“I think this project gave us a chance to show that we are brave enough to take on something as bold as this and that we are trusted by our customers on a historic project and something so close to them. This demonstrates that we are actually an integrator and we can do projects like this, where we do the complete, end-to-end package for the customers.”
Market growth at electrifying paceElectric vehicles are expected to represent over 30% of the total market share for new car sales by 2030, according to Deloitte. This trend presents an opportunity for Maersk to serve more customers with special needs within this high-growth market.
John Carmichael, Global Vertical Head of Automotive at Maersk, explains that even though the Vega EVX is a prototype concept car and batteries require specialised handling and different supply chains to those of today, the main customer pains are constant.
Car manufacturers require visibility of their cargo, certainty it will arrive on time, and trust that their precious goods, be it a cutting-edge supercar or time-critical components, are in the right hands.
By introducing Maersk Battery Logistics, the company is working on specialised services to handle batteries that are fast becoming a key propulsion system in the automotive industry.
A generation of hopeThe virtual unveiling of the Vega EVX at the world’s biggest motor exhibition in Geneva did not only mark the culmination of six years of ambitious craftmanship in a small garage.
According to the World Bank, Sri Lanka has long struggled with youth unemployment. Many of its brightest minds go abroad to get a higher education and explore better job opportunities while the country’s economic progress suffers as a result.
However, the passionate and driven team behind the Vega EVX project has proven that talented young Sri Lankans can reach their dreams on home soil.
His colleague, Dr. Harsha Subasinghe, believes that the Vega EVX has changed the mindset of many Sri Lankans.
I'm so glad that we're doing what we're doing. The future is going to be bright for all the young guys, because they don't have to go elsewhere to do these things. We can do them in Sri Lanka and hopefully, we can one day become one of the top countries in the world.
After the successful and timely delivery for the unveiling in Geneva, Vega Innovations continues to rely on Maersk for all of its supply chain needs, as the Sri Lankan start-up looks to capture the imagination of more car lovers and tech fans around the world.
Key facts about Vega EVX
- Year: 2020
- Horsepower: 804
- 0-100 km/h: 3.1 seconds
- Driving range: 300 km
- Battery pack: 55 kWh, 540 liquid-cooled