Prius interior photo by Pedro Moura Pinheiro
In a stunning turn of good policy, the government reduced import taxes on hybrid cars. In the last year Colombo saw a flood of Toyota Priuses and Honda Insights before the government regressed to the mean and brought some taxation back. Once these cars were an oddity but the tax differential (more than doubles the price of gas vehicles) has meant that Colombo now looks a lot like San Francisco. Except there are cows in the road. But what is it like to drive a hybrid? I just found a set of posts by Ashoka Wonders that explain first hand (one, two).
One misperception I had was that these cars somehow required electrical charging. In Sri Lanka we burn diesel to generate electricity, so this would be pointless.
“it’s more correct to view a hybrid car as basically a normal petrol vehicle with few fuel saving features with the aid of a rechargeable battery among other things. I personally give lot of credit to the LCD display for high fuel efficiency as it helps us to find faults in our driving and help improve our driving habits to improve fuel efficiency.” (his first post)
What I find interesting is that Ashoka talks about the change in his driving as much as the change in technology. Basically, driving less aggressively burns less fuel, whatever your powertrain.
Anyways, both the first post and the more detailed second are worth a read. There are a lot more new cars on the streets since the war, and thankfully a lot of them are hybrid. It’s interesting to learn more about these novel beasts.