Nepal on way for adoption of EVs, but infrastructural problems getting in Reporter
Jan 27, 2023

Image: Pixabay

Kathmandu: Mof the countries around the world are on their way for the wider adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

Some of the reasons for promoting EVs are to reduce emission and lower the use of petroleum products, both of the factors responsible for climate change. Nepal is also bracing for the adoption of EVs.

With the aim of increasing energy consumption within and lowering the use of petroleum products, it has made policies relating to EVs, which are considered to be positive.

It has fixed low tax on the import of EVs as compared to fuel vehicles, thus boosting their number in the past few years.

However, there is a setback; there lacks charging stations, and related infrastructures. The government through the budget for the fiscal year, 2022/23 has provisioned that petrol and diesel-dependent private and public vehicles in the Kathmandu Valley will be gradually replaced with EVs.

Similarly, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned generator and distributor of electric power of the country, will construct and operate charging stations to encourage the use of EVs.

Private sector will be encouraged to replace existing petrol stations with electric charging stations, and public sector will use only EVs.

Although EV companies and the NEA are constructing charging stations, the number is not enough, said NADA Automobiles Association of Nepal President Dhruba Thapa.

To increase the use of EVs, preparing required number of technicians for building infrastructures and a repair of charging stations is a main challenge, he viewed. “In most cases, both EV companies and the NEA are building charging stations.

But, the number is not enough. There are charging stations in only main cities. They should be expanded to villages too,” he said.

Private sector alone cannot build charging stations. So, the government should also take initiatives, he suggested. Workforce for maintaining and repairing EVs has been almost ready, he said.

Private sector is efficient in assembling, maintaining and repairing EVs within the country. But, the government has yet to provide assistances at policy level, he complained.

“Private sector is ready to produce EVs within the country. But for this, a clear policy is required.

It requires big investments to open industries to produce EVs. So, it requires policy stability.” The trend of a change in policy each time when there is a government change has discouraged private sector, he said.

He referred to the amendment of tax provision relating to EVs four times in a span of two years.

Similarly, private sector is not clear on what size the Nepali bazaar get in the use of EVs.

Lately, consumers have been taking interest in EVs, said Chief Executive Officer of the Sipradi Trading Pvt. Ltd. Rajan Babu Shrestha, also President of the Committee on Electric Vehicle under the NADA.

Now, the import and sales of EVs is very good, and the market comments are also good, he said. “At present, consumers’ acceptance is good.

The main issue was ‘range anxiety’. Customers were not aware about how EVs performed and what is their range? Now most of them have understood it,” he said. Another reason of customers’ attraction to EVs is low operating cost.

“There are charging stations at most of places in the country. Its operation cost is also low. Banks and financial institutions easily provide loans to purchase it. So, customers are attracted to it.”