The government is preparing to introduce a policy to promote the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The proposed policy has been aimed mainly at reducing air pollution by reducing the use of fossil fuel-based vehicles. It also envisions converting petrol- and diesel-run vehicles into electric vehicles by introducing appropriate rules.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) will soon table the final draft of the policy to the Cabinet. “We have already compiled suggestions from various stakeholders,” said Nabin Pokhrel, under secretary at MoPIT.
“The final draft will be first forwarded to the Law Ministry for its approval before sending it to the Cabinet.” The ministry had taken feedbacks form line ministries, including environment, finance, urban development and industry. It also took suggestions from the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs and the Nepal Electricity Authority.
According to officials at the Department of Transport Management, the draft has incorporated issues like customs duty waiver, areas of operation of such vehicles, operation of trolley bus, standards of charging stations, conversion of old vehicles into electric and route permits, among others.
Although the proposed policy has provisioned incentives and excise and customs duty waivers, it is to be seen how it would encourage people to own electric vehicles amid acute power crisis.
The promotion of electric vehicles is expected to reduce petroleum imports. Nepal imported petroleum products worth Rs 98 billion in the first nine months of this fiscal year. In the entire last fiscal year, the imports were more than Rs 100 billion.
The imports this year are excepted exceed last year’s figure amid increasing automobile imports and use of diesel for electricity generation.
According to the data of the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), a total of 1.66 million automobiles have been registered in the country as of mid-January 2014. The number of electric vehicles is estimated to be just 2,200, including 630 Sfa Tempos, 50 four-wheelers and 1,500 two-wheelers.