EV cars on offer in Nepal

The technology powering electric vehicles (EVs) has improved significantly over the past decade, and the EV’s popularity is gradually increasing in Nepal. Not long ago, we would encounter barely a handful of EVs on our roads, and the idea of owning a car that could be charged via an outlet on the wall (like a cellphone does) to get a significant amount of range was unheard of. However, the tables have turned now, and EVs are starting to make their presence here.

That said, the automotive market in Nepal is still disproportionately dominated by petrol-powered cars. There are multiple reasons that Nepali customers still hesitate to opt for EVs. Until very recently, a major deterrent was the heavy customs duty levied by the government on EVs. Indeed, at one point, the government more than doubled the amount that customers had to pay as duty. But the recent budget announcement–for the Fiscal Year 2078/79 BS–has undone all that. The government now says that the excise duty on EVs has been completely lifted. If everything goes well, Nepal might see a significant drop in EV prices, and with that, an improvement in EV sales, especially with models like the Nissan Leaf EV trying to enter the market here.

The waiving of excise duty might lower EV prices, but are EVs worth buying? Well, the most obvious pull factor is that with an EV you don’t have to worry about blockades, petrol scarcity, (a recurring issue for a country that is dependent on imported oil), or waiting in long lines for your turn to fill up. With an EV, however, you can conveniently charge it overnight, get it up to full range, and go zip around town the next day. Electricity is cheaper than petrol, and EVs are also less expensive to maintain. Furthemore, by driving an EV you will be doing your bit to reduce global warming emissions and helping improve public health. Most importantly, more people opting for EVs might help mitigate Nepal’s pollution problem to some extent.

There are thus many benefits we can derive if the EV culture takes off here, but an EV buyer still has to account for certain limitations that come with owning an EV in Nepal. Internationally, the EV trend has gotten popular in no small part owing to the following particulars: Foreign markets offer a plethora of EV models; quite a few countries and companies have invested in developing charging infrastructure; and many brands offer prompt services for their products. In Nepal, on the other hand, you are mostly on your own. You will therefore need to ponder deeply before making the switch to an EV. As things stand now, you cannot, for example, go on long tours, but if that’s not a deal breaker for you, and the farthest you’ll be venturing away from the city are spots like Nagarkot, Kurintar, etc, then you should give EVs a consideration.

To help you do that, we’ve compiled a list comprising some of the four-wheeler EVs available in Nepal.

Hyundai Kona

South Korean carmaker Hyundai released their electric version of the Kona during the first half of 2018, and in early 2019, Laxmi Intercontinental Pvt. Ltd (the sole authorized distributor of Hyundai Motors for Nepal) launched the EV here. Both versions of the Kona were successful in baggin the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award. The Kona Electric, which has become pretty popular here, is offered in two battery versions: the 39.2 kWh version and the 64 kWh version. The former achieves a top speed of 155 km/h and up to 312 km of driving range, while the latter tops out at 167 km/h and has a range of 482 km. For safety, Kona comes equipped with a Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA), Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW), Rear-Cross Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW), and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), to name a few. For convenience, Hyundai offers the Kona with heated/ventilated seats, wireless charging, a 7″ instrument cluster, a KRELL Premium sound system, and an 8″ navigation system, among others.

MG ZS EV

This purely electric version of the ZS Compact SUV by MG was launched at the end of 2019 in Nepal. MG Motors introduced the MG ZS EV with a starting price of NPR 49.99 lakhs, making the model the most affordable all-electric compact SUV during its rollout here. The ZS EV is offered with a 44.5 kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers 428 km of range at the speed of 60 kmph on a single charge. The battery charges up from zero to 80 percent within 30 minutes. The motor delivers 147 bhp of power and 350 Nm of maximum torque. For safety, the ZS comes with features such as six airbags, a rear parking camera, reverse parking sensors, LED DRLs, and ISOFIX (rear child fitting). The comfort and convenience of the passengers are taken care of by a panoramic sunroof, an ETC air conditioner, keyless entry & start, cruise control, and remote central-door locking, to name a few.

Mahindra eVerito

The eVerito launched as an electronic version of the Verito sedan in Nepal at the end of 2018. This EV is powered by a 3-phase 72V induction motor producing 30.5 kW of power and 91 Nm of torque. It is powered by a 200Ah Li-ion battery that can be charged at home through a regular power outlet and takes 90 minutes to juice the battery to the max. The Mahindra eVerito provides 110 km of range on a single charge. As for comfort and convenience, those are taken care of by an air-conditioner with a heater, power windows, internally adjustable ORVMS, cell-phone charging points, cup holders, etc. Safety features include a high-mount stop lamp, adjustable front and rear head restraints, childproof rear door locks, and a prismatic day and night rearview mirror.

Kia e-Niro

Continental Trading Enterprises (CTE), the authorized distributor for Kia Motors in Nepal, launched the e-Niro in mid-2019. The all-electric Niro, with its competitive price point, is a rival to the popular Hyundai Kona EV. The KIA e-Niro is powered by a 64 KW battery that delivers a range of 615 km on a single charge, and it takes 54 minutes to charge from zero to 80 percent. The SUV comes with a 150KW electric motor that produces 201 hp of power and 395 Nm of torque and reaches a top speed of167 km/h. Safety features in the car include an Advanced Driver Assistance System, Blindspot Collision Warning, seven airbags, Hill-Start Assist Control, and Electronic Stability Control.

(Also published on the Hamrobazar Blog)

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