KATHMANDU, Sept 13: With the rising number of electric vehicles on the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is planning to instal 50 charging stations for electric vehicles across all seven provinces within a year and a half.
Of late, electric vehicles have captivated public attention with growing number of people interested in buying such automobiles.
“The demand for electric vehicles has doubled in the past year,” said Pramod Bhandari, senior executive manager of Agni Incorporated Private Limited, the authorized distributor of Indian automaker Mahindra in Nepal.
There are more than 41,400 electric vehicles across the country, according to Bhandari. Of them, there are 35,000 two-wheelers, 5,000 three-wheelers, more than 650 cars, 750 safa tempos and four buses.
The number of electric vehicles is likely to go up in the days to come because of tax exemption by the government. Besides being environment-friendly, the government has introduced policies to promote electric vehicles. The government has exempted road tax for electric vehicles while the customs duty on their imports is very low compared to the vehicles operating on fossil fuel.
Stakeholders claim that more people are keen on buying electric vehicles but they are hesitating to buy vehicles due to the lack of charging stations. Currently there are four charging stations and all of them are privately-owned. Two of the charging stations are located in the Kathmandu valley and are designed especially to charge electric buses. The remaining two stations are in Kurintar of Chitwan and Nagarkot of Bhaktapur.
The charging stations outside Kathmandu can charge cars only.
NEA is looking for places where it can set up charging stations without having to pay any rent.
“We are planning to operate charging stations in places such as government offices, parking areas of public schools and other public places,” said Pramod Rijal, deputy chief of NEA’s Energy Efficiency Program.
“We are currently in the last stage of issuing a call for tender for setting up charging stations,” said Rijal. The work should be completed within a year and a half, he added.
Economists and environmentalists believe the use of electric vehicles in Nepal will not only help control air pollution but will also improve the country's GDP as Nepal has a huge potential to generate hydro-electricity.
According to Rijal, the charging stations will be fully automated. Individuals will be able to charge their vehicles themselves and make payment through QR codes, online payments and other similar systems.
The cost of charging electric vehicles is currently Rs 7-8 per unit.