According to the price set by the Nepal Oil Corporation, the current price of a liter of petrol is Rs 160. Prices of petroleum products have been rising steadily in the international market.
Fuel prices continue to rise, especially in the wake of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In such a situation, huge amount of money of the state is being spent on the purchase of petroleum products.
On top of that, the number of people driving their own vehicles in cities and urban areas is also increasing every year. Based on the price list sent by the Indian Oil Corporation every 15 days and based on the price determined by the corporation, every citizen who drives his vehicle has to incur additional expenses.
The economic downturn is gradually weakening due to the Corona catastrophe, but as fuel prices continue to rise, the impact is becoming a factor in the economic crisis for every household. Citizens are being forced to open the option of vehicles using petroleum products.
However, the government has been promoting the use of electric vehicles. In the current year’s budget, only one percent customs duty has been levied on the import of electric vehicles.
Gradually, the citizens have started promoting the use of electric vehicles. However, the lack of charging stations in suitable places and the unavailability of vehicles such as the use of petroleum products are also creating obstacles.
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) has come to a logical conclusion by studying electric scooters from the government level in the context of Nepal being the only market for selling goods.
Most of the establishments in Nepal have tried to give a new message by constructing electric scooters amid complaints that they have not been able to work effectively and are not engaged in research.
Claiming that it has made a model suitable for the soil and roads of Nepal, the foundation has paved the way for those who want to produce scooters by setting up a factory.
Dr. Sunil Babu Shrestha, Vice-Chancellor of the Electric Scooter Foundation and Bamdev Chhetri, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission of Lumbini have already used the electric scooter prepared by the Foundation.
The foundation has already informed the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation about the scooter. It is scheduled to be inaugurated in the presence of Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal in a few days.
One thousand kilometers of electric vehicles have become available in the international market on a single charge. Both China and India have made great strides in the manufacture of electric vehicles.
Various models of electric vehicles have started plying on the roads of Nepal. If the price of petroleum products continues to rise, consumers will be forced to look for alternatives. The market is now moving in the same direction.
According to Rabindra Dhakal, Head of Technology of the Foundation and Head of Electric Scooter Manufacturing Program, a model suitable for Nepali geography has been developed. The firm is currently building prototypes.
A similar foundation is conducting a feasibility study on what kind of technical and financial preparations should be made while setting up a factory in Nepal. The Lumbini state government is cooperating for that.
A laboratory for electric scooters has been constructed in the premises of the establishment. Dhakal informed that preparations are being made to name the current scooter ‘Sarathi’.
Manpower has also been prepared with the objective of providing support for production in Nepal. The institute has released the results in seven months with the necessary studies.
The foundation has spent more than three lakh rupees to make a scooter. When it comes to mass production, electric scooters can be made in Nepal for a minimum of Rs 150,000 to Rs 200,000. Since all the goods have to be imported from abroad, the establishment understands that it will be a bit expensive.
Mentioning that they have studied the issue keeping in mind that Nepal should be not only a market but also a place of production, Dhakal said that he is optimistic that electric scooters can be made in Nepal.
The institute also conducted a study to produce petrol from plastic under his coordination. The study, conducted during India’s undeclared blockade, disappeared after the situation returned to normal. Prahlad Gupta has played a special role as the team leader in the construction of the scooter.
The scooter currently manufactured by the foundation has a two kilowatt capacity lithium ion battery. Battery capacity can be increased. The current scooter can travel up to 50 kilometers on a single charge. According to Dhakal, as the capacity of batteries and motors is increased, more kilometers can be made.
In particular, the problem of batteries used in most electric vehicles has been seen. Lead cell batteries are being researched in Nepal. The Foundation is providing technical and academic assistance in this regard.
Charging stations need to be built everywhere to promote the use of electric vehicles. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said that 50 charging stations will be constructed in the first phase across the country but no concrete progress has been made so far.
Similarly, Hyundai is constructing 40 charging stations from the private sector. Recently, the government has made legal arrangements to make vehicles using petroleum products electric. Some people understand that it is too late to do this work.
NEA has also reduced electricity tariff for charging electric vehicles. Charging at night is even cheaper. However, not all charging stations have been built. Scooters, motorcycles can be charged at home.
The private sector is constructing charging stations in Kathmandu Valley on its own initiative. It needs to be further expanded. Although NEA has put forward various schemes to increase the consumption of electricity internally, due to some legal complications, progress has not been as expected.
Dhakal, who is also a senior scientist at the institute, said that the government and the industrialists should work for a common vision for the construction and use of electric vehicles in the country.
He says that you have to take some risk for the new job. The foundation has also developed technology to start motorcycles from a mobile app.
Consumption of petroleum products has to be gradually reduced. On the one hand, the environmental risk is increasing and on the other hand, huge amount of money has gone abroad. The use of electric vehicles is the best way to avoid this.
Senior scientist Dhakal said that the time has come to motivate people towards the use of electric vehicles and the institute has provided technical and academic support in this regard.
He said that the government should take initiative to intervene in the market. It is also necessary to build confidence that electric vehicles can be built within the country. Dhakal informed that the foundation has taken initiative for that.