Oped

Charging ahead

  • Nepal needs to switch to EVs if its agenda is to avoid losses economically and environmentally
- Rakshya Lama

Oct 16, 2018-

Since ancient times, man has lived in sync with nature. But with the advent of the industrial revolution, man started to stray away from the methods disposed to us by nature, and started climbing on rails powered by locomotive steam engines. Since then, there has been no end to man’s unending desires for a luxurious life, for which new inventions took shape every day. One of the major thrusts in the transport history was the invention of the diesel-powered engine in 1806, which is ruling roads even now. It was only after a generation that battery-powered vehicles began to ply the roads, around 1886. Electric vehicles (EV) started being manufactured, not out of option but out of necessity.

For two centuries, fuel-run vehicles put much pressure on the pumping for more fossil fuels from sea-beds and lands, causing irreversible environmental harm and destabilisation of economies. Today, nations that thrived on a gasoline economy are facing a historic crisis owing to the depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels. The monopoly of internal combustion engines (ICEs) is finally about to be broken.

Leading automaker companies like Tesla Corp have proved how EVs do not have to limited to the conditioned idea of being slow, unreliable, exhausting, box-looking electric cars. Today’s EVs are stylish, comfortable, powerful and agile Li-ion powered vehicles, with in-built features—from screen touch command system to auto-driving technology. After intense research and improvisation, electric vehicles have now been able to stand side by side with ICEs. In fact, it is more economical and carbon neutral than the former.

Contrary to pocket-draining ICEs, the benefits of owning an electric vehicle are numerous: the refueling cost of EVs is far cheaper in comparison to ICEs, standing 20 times less hefty per km. The maintenance and repair cost of EVs are quite low too, and you don’t even need to smash your piggy bank. This is due to its simple structure, contrary to the ICE’s, where its complex integration of engine, transmission gears, spark plug, fuel chamber, exhaust and radiator are all subject to wear and tear, a If you want to try a new version of your EV, you can get quite a decent sum if you sell your EV as well.

Many governments around the world have recognised the gravity of the situation, and are in the process of switching to using eco-friendly means of sustaining development and economy. And many are on the path to institutionalise electric vehicle implementation plans to reduce carbon emission. The government of Norway has achieved a total of 51 percent new vehicle registration of electric and hybrid vehicles in 2017. The People’s Republic of China has seen the highest surge in the number of electric/hybrid vehicle owners. As of 2017, it had 1,91,000 electric vehicle users. Countries like the Netherlands and Norway have plans to end the sale of new ICEs by 2025, whereas countries like India, China, and Germany plan to replicate the same by 2030. These plans are being materialised by policies and laws made by futurist governments. Accessibility to EVs is being made easier and cheaper by tightening grips at roduction/automaker level and loosening the grip at distribution/sale level.

To liberate the public from the spell of fuel engines, governments have presented an array of incentives for the public to switch to EVs, such as relief from the huge 30 percent excise duty to carbon emissions fee, gasoline VAT and facilitating easy loan facilities for the same. All of these schemes may decrease gasoline-related revenue, and it will also loosen the grip on pocket of common man that can be invested in productive business to improve individual economy and strengthen the country as a whole.

Economic stability can be secured by setting up , fast-charging stations, establishing hydro powers to meet surging demands, subsidising imported parts of EVs, including Lithium-ion batteries, and providing provisions to include electric vehicles in the priority sector lending to the surge of the use of EVs. However, currently, where four-wheelers pay 40 percent customs duty and two-wheelers pay 15 percent customs duty, provisions are such that middle class people cannot afford to purchase EVs Unless things chang at the policy level, not much change can take place. Many great economic powers are gearing up to phase out the production of fuel engines. Nepal too needs to switch to EVs if its agenda is to avoid losses economically and environmentally.

 

Lama is pursuing an MBA degree at the Ace Institute of Management.

Published: 16-10-2018 08:05

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