As the world shifts towards electric vehicles (EVs) and in a bid to secure its own future, Nepal is also attempting to follow suit.
--BY BIJAY LAXMI DUWAL
The recent years have seen the gears of the global automobile industry shifting from Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs) to vehicles with electric motors. Automakers throughout the world are joining the caravan of electric vehicles (EVs) manufacturing, coming up with products that highlight the latest technological innovations in a bid to chart a new path for the future of the global automobile sector.
The push from the governments has been a major factor of persuasion for automakers the world over. Several countries in Europe and Asia including Germany, France, The Netherlands, Britain, Norway, China and India, for instance, have already announced the decision to phase out vehicles running on fossil fuels starting from the year 2030 in a bid to drastically reduce carbon emission levels.
Though Nepal is yet to take concrete steps in adopting EVs, the global EV enthusiasm has slowly started to grip the Nepali market.
The launch of new EVs in the four-wheeler and two-wheeler segments at NADA Auto Show 2018 held in mid-September and the immense attraction of visitors towards the vehicles are indicative of this fact. Major automobile brands including Hyundai, Kia and Renault showcased their futuristic four-wheelers during the auto show.
In just the first three months of the current fiscal year 2018/19, the country imported EVs worth Rs 274 million while EVs worth Rs 768 million were imported during the last fiscal year, 2017/18. The data also reveals that the growth of the EVs is accelerating rapidly in the country. Most EVs are imported from China, India, South Korea and Thailand this year. There’s no doubt that the world’s trends in the automobile sector thrust the growth of EVs here in Nepal. Beside this, there are many factors favouring this escalation. Because of the government’s support for EVs through tax flexibility and free excise duty on the import of EVs in Nepal, EVs are getting the opportunity to grow. Only 10 percent excise duty is levied on the import of private EVs and only 1 percent excise duty is levied for import of public EVs. Likewise, only Rs 300 tax is levied on EVs annually while 240 percent tax is levied on standard four wheeler vehicles.
The consciousness of EVs is gradually developing among people. The government’s Environment-friendly Vehicle and Transport Policy (2014) that aims to increase the share of EVs up to 20 percent by 2020 can help mount EVs in Nepal. In addition to this, the country is supposed to generate surplus electricity production in the coming three years. This will eventually reinforce the constant supply of electricity. Every household needs electric power of at least 32 amperes to charge EVs at home, which is not available at present.
EVs are gaining popularity among today’s youth with its new variants along with superior features. Further, standard vehicles consist around 10,000 moving parts while EVs have around 80 to 90 moving parts due to which they don’t require regular servicing, unlike
Hyundai Ioniq:Gaining Hype
Hyundai Ioniq, which was launched at the NADA Auto Show 2018 by Laxmi Intercontinental on 11th September got booked within two months of its entrance in Nepal. “We have launched two Hyundai Ioniqs and both of them are in the retailing process now,” informed Deepak Thapaliya, deputy GM of Laxmi adding, “The car is available at an affordable price because of tax flexibility for EVs in Nepal. If the same 240 percent tax were levied on it like an ICE vehicle, it would cost higher than Rs 10 million. We are retailing the existing Ioniq for around Rs 55, 00,000.”
“There is hype around electric vehicles but awareness level is still lacking in comparison to the excitement for EVs,” shares Thapaliya. According to him, disseminating knowledge of EVs is crucial for the promotion of EVs in Nepal.
Hyundai Ioniq, a luxurious family car with seven airbags has arrived with a high electric motor capable of 88 kW powered by a 28kWh battery that can drive up to 220 km on a complete charge. Automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control, regenerative braking, blind spot detection, lane departure warning are among the highlights of the Ioniq. Besides the onboard charger that comes equipped with the car, the company is providing a medium charger to the customers.
The company is launching another 15 units of Ioniq this year. It is also planning to launch other EVs here. Thapaliya shares that EVs save fuel cost of Rs 9,000 in a month and increase electricity bills by only around Rs 800.
BYD Getting Extended Charging Stations
CimexInc, the authorised distributor of BYD in Nepal has sold 36 units of BYD within two years of their arrival in 2017.
“In the first year of the launch, we were focused on promoting EVs as their knowledge was lacking here,” shares Sahil Shrestha, marketing officer of Cimex Inc, adding, “EVs are still to become a hit in the Nepali market.”
The company is offering the BYD e6 worth Rs 66, 00,000. The battery power of the vehicle is 80 kW and it has a 20-year lifespan. The company now is launching the BYD e3 this December. It is also planning to install a further 50 charging stations in the coming year. It currently has 8 charging stations.
Renault Preparing for Launch
Advance Automobile, the authorised distributor of Renault in Nepal, is also preparing for the official launch of Renault Zoe in the country in the near future. Adhir Kumar Shrestha, GM, informs, “EVs will be the mainstay in the near future in the automobile industry. We are planning to launch Zoe in the coming two years according to the market trend,”
Renault Zoe, which was showcased during the 2018 NADA Auto Show got positive responses, however, it is not yet on sale. Zoe features leather upholstery, rear-parking cameras and heated front seats and can drive up to 400 km on a full charge. Its 22kW battery can be charged up to 80 percent in 1 hr 45 min.
Kia Soul on an Upward Trajectory
Continental Trading, the authorised dealer of Kia Motors in Nepal, has sold more than 100 units of Kia Soul until now. The company began selling the vehicle since 2016 and has been witnessing the growth of EVs in Nepal.
The car, featuring a JBL speaker, sunroof and six airbags along with a driving range of to 212 km can be fully charged in 4 hours with a fast charger. Soul Exi worth Rs 5.6 million and Soul EXii worth Rs 5.8 million are the two variants available in the market.
The Soul has already marked its presence in the electric four-wheeler segment in the county. “If there is a strong and proper policy for electric supply from NEA for EVs, it takes no time to boom the electric segment in the domestic automobile market,” shares senior marketing officer, Prasiddha Khadka.
Mahindra Continues its EV Legacy
Agni Energy, the authorised distributor of Mahindra EVs in Nepal, has years of experience in the Nepali EV market.
Since 2010, the company has been offering various Mahindra EV models including Reva, e2o and e2o Plus. E-Verito, the latest model of Mahindra in Nepal is gaining popularity in the market. According to Pramod Bhandari, executive senior manager at Agni Incorporated, the company has sold 2400 units of EVs till date. E-Verito is available at Rs 28, 80,000.
NIU, the Leading E-Scooter
Within a short period, since its establishment in 2017, Eco Infinity, which is the sole authorised distributor of the NIU scooter in Nepal has sold 150 e-scooters in the fiscal year 2017/18. Now, more than 200 e-scooters have been sold.
The company’s marketing and communication manager Maaz Ashraf says, "NIU N1 is the first e-scooter in Nepal to pass the Road Worthiness Test at White Gumba". Two models of NIU including NIU N1s and NIU M1 Pro are currently available in the market.