Is it too soon for automobile brands to push Electric Vehicles in the Nepalese market?
Have you ever contemplated purchasing an electric vehicle? If yes, then have you thought about how beneficial it could be? There is a rise of two-wheelers brands such as NIU, Soco, Genius, and TAILG making critical impacts.
Other brands such as Dahe, Derry, Thee Go, Mahindra, Tata, and MG promote their E4Ws in Nepal. EVs are on the verge of a revolution in Nepal. However, are these vehicles too soon in the market?
History of EVs
Nepal has a very enriched history of the Trolleybus, which started in 1975. It can be referred to as the first electric vehicle of Nepal. The chargeable EV purchase began in 2010. ECO vision was the first company to promote EV, and Bijay Sagar Pradhan was the first buyer.
Since then, there has been an uphill EV market in Nepal. There are 26,466 e-rickshaws registered in Nepal. Currently, the total number of EVs in Nepal is 34,000, and this will rise in the coming years. So what factors have pushed these numbers?
Influencing Factors of EVs Push in Nepal
Nepal is planning to build 50 EVs charging stations and replace fossil fuel two-wheelers by 2031. Certain factors could attract and resist EVs push in our country.
These factors can influence all EVs or categorically, namely Electric two-wheelers (E2Ws), Electric four-wheelers (E4Ws), and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). The 13 influencing factors to push EVs in Nepal are:
1. GHGs Reduction
From a climate perspective, the superiority of EVs over other gasoline vehicles is certainly a cleaner source of energy as a fuel. The electrical charge helps to minimize GreenHouse Gases (GHGs). It is an essential aspect as the emission has risen by 35 metric tons from 1900-2018 in Nepal. It is never too soon to contribute to a cleaner and greener planet, isn’t it?
2. Energy Saving
Apart from controlling GHGs emissions, it also holds energy uses. EV offers superiority over gasoline vehicles in energy-saving performances. As Nepal Oil Limited exports a lot of petrol and diesel from the neighboring nations, it would be quite an accomplishment to minimize imports and use our own generated electric energy.
However, the authorities must be careful in supplying adequate electrical power for EV users. The push of EV for energy-saving is a positive message for other nations and is essential for our country.
3. Infrastructures requirement
E2Ws and HEVs do not even require specific charging infrastructures. This feature makes the automobile more straightforward to use. The portable battery feature of the E2Ws recharge from the standard outlet of the office and home.
However, a specific charging station is required for E4Ws. So, E2Ws and HEVs rather than E4Ws are more suitable for developing nations like Nepal. The infrastructure of Nepal is not appropriate enough for all kinds of EV models yet.
Maybe some cities might be able to construct such facilities, but one cannot support EVs push if applicable in a small part of the country.
4. EVs capacity
The primary issue of EV is undoubtedly its capacity. It is available with limited battery life, which may leave us stranded. Most EVs take a long charging duration, which makes the automobile an inferior product.
These E2Ws automobiles, with a weight of 30-80 kg, are often slower than gasoline motorbikes. The speed is suitable for high traffic areas but not convenient for highways.
The most affecting feature is weight carrying capacity. As a developing nation and geographical settlement, Nepal relies highly on transporting stuff on two-wheelers and four-wheelers.
If the vehicle is incapable of such carriage, it would not be applicable for most regions in Nepal.
5. Purchase and Cost Operation
EVs have a meager operational cost compared to gasoline vehicles. Several studies confirmed that the operation cost of E2Ws is eight times less than gasoline vehicles.
The ownership of EVs requires a fixed price rather than variable costing of other automobiles. Though E4W and HEV are expensive, two-wheelers are more favorable price vehicles.
Users from Nepal can take the cost for E2Ws as driving forces and E4Ws and HEVs as resistive forces for EVs.
6. Mode Shift
People often tend to change their minds in terms of the accessories they use. As we continuously observe the upliftment of technology from the internet, the trends keep on evolving.
EVs are the new trend in automobiles that can shift gasoline mode to electrical. The rising living standard of Nepalese would undoubtedly like to afford new automobile technology.
Congestion is feeling uncomfortable while traveling. On gasoline vehicles, it may occur due to the smell of fuel, additional time on refuel, and probably loud noise on some cars. EVs are free of these hectic disadvantages.
These automobiles could be best in the hilly and steep turns roads of Nepal. This reason might not be a decisive factor, but cars without smell and sound are the best ones.
8. Government Policies
The question arises how is the government promoting Electric vehicles? It could be the most valuable aspect of pushing EVs. If the government of Nepal assists EV users with special provisions, then more people would support buying automobiles.
There was a decline in the EV market in Nepal after the budget announcement of 2020/2021 as 30-80% of excise duty, and 60% of customs duty increased the automobile price.
But, this fiscal year, the government waived customs duty and brought down customs duty by 10%. Furthermore, it is free of taxes and renewal fees for five years. It looks like the government wants EVs to stay in Nepal, so they are assisting the market push.
Most citizens of Nepal might not know about such vehicles operating on electricity. People are suffering from range anxiety, charging anxiety, and resale anxiety.
Significant awareness is required for the long-term sustainability of EVs. Government can lure users via advertisement and financial initiatives, which could be one of the successful policies.
10. Market competitors
Nepal has a strong market for gasoline-based vehicles. People still prefer four-wheelers with higher HP and strong frames. The trend might change in the future, but the features of EVs need to uplift very vastly. Or the new and powerful EVs need to enter the market.
11. Harmful Emissions
It is a conflicting contribution of EVs that it could release PM10, SO2, and NOX. The lead-acid batteries of automobiles release these sorts of dangerous gases. This situation will result in more solid lead waste than gasoline vehicles.
Nepal must be aware of managing such kinds of waste before pushing EVs into the market. Since few Nepalese are aware of this factor, it still can be a problem in the long-term future.
12. Resale Issue
Resale could significantly impede EVs, as it depends upon reliability, longevity, social trends, and reputation. Unless there is an abundance of EVs, people will hesitate to buy old used automobiles.
Various schemes highlighting long-term durability stories of EVs will help us to promote in the Nepalese Market. The resale offers are hard to create due to lower quality and battery life expectancy.
As there have been no such propositions in Nepal till now, this reason might be too-soon for the EV market.
The recent news on BBC reported that high-profile brands like Tesla EVs kept drivers locked with issues of an outage. Not only that, road safety is not of high priority in our country.
High traffic, unavailable separated lanes for two-wheelers, and similar accidental costs are critical safety issues for E2Ws in Nepal. This factor wanders us on thinking, are all vehicle upliftments too soon in Nepal?
Is it too early?
E2Ws are more reasonable for developing countries like Nepal due to their cheap purchase price and operational cost. The E2Ws endure the potential to decrease congestion and GHG discharges without infrastructure financing.
The E2Ws could be a thriving alternative in developing countries with gasoline-based two-wheelers in their traffic mix. In contrast, E2Ws handle conflicting resisting forces, such as lack of awareness, power blackouts, compelling gasoline-based two-wheelers’ market, and inferior aspects (low speed and long charging time).
However, E4Ws could be delayed in Nepal until the economics of scale can diminish the various costs of E4Ws. HEVs could be developed in Nepal, as the buying price is more affordable than E4Ws. Besides, HEVs grant reasonable GHG savings even with a filthy electricity mix.
With genuine policies, HEVs and E2Ws can be successfully propagated in Nepal. The growth is not too soon, but it is still unplanned. The effort to secure the green electricity mix to yield EVs’ is the right path but needs to be executed properly.
EVs are in trend these days in our country. However, owing to the various factors mentioned above, Nepalese customers will favor only certain quality and type of EVs. Limited infrastructures for E4Ws and weak features of E2Ws are significant issues for pushing EVs in Nepal.
‘Too Soon’ would be unmotivating, but certainly not an overstatement. However, HEVs are more favorable than other two-wheelers and four-wheelers. If the policies are adequate, HEVs could be the most suitable automobile for developing nations such as Nepal. While it is ‘too soon’ for Nepal, it is already too late for the environment. For a country dealing with the most precarious threat from climate change owing to its glaciers and lakes, government needs to step up. For a poor country like Nepal, it is not feasible to expect rapid deployment of charging stations for EVs yet, but like mentioned above, adoption of HEVs, while simultaneously building infrastructures for EVs is of imperative urgency!