Electric scooters yet to gain traction in Nepal

- KRISHANA PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Jan 28, 2019-

While more people are making the switch to electric scooters as the cost savings over their petrol powered brethren are substantial, they have failed to set the sales chart on fire.

The government is looking to encourage more sales of electric scooters by waiving excise duty on the import of e-scooters and only charges 10 percent customs duty.

Similarly, the government has also completely waived the annual tax and 50 percent rebate on road improvement tax on e-scooter. These moves have been paying off.

According to the Department of Transport Management, more than 200 e-scooters have been registered till date in Province-3. Mohan Prasad Chapagain, the department’s officer tasked with looking after the two-wheeler segment said that new e-scooter brands have already registered with the department while existing brands are in the process of registering.

Domestic e-scooter dealers said that the waiver in the import of spare parts of e-scooters from the government side could help in boosting sales of e-scooters. There are around 10 e-scooter brands in the country.

Minimal servicing costs due to less moving parts, annual tax waiver, a one-time full charge range of up to 80 km, ability to be charged anywhere, availability of spare parts are some of the main advantages of e-scooters, said dealers.

Domestic e-scooter dealers also attribute the advanced technology being used in electric scooters as the major selling point.

E-scooters are comparatively cost effective compare to fuel guzzling scooters as e-scooters can save up to Rs35,000—45,000 in a year, said Pranayna KC, CEO at Eco-Infinity, the authorised distributor of NIU e-scooters the country.

She highlighted that to travel 80km, it takes three to four litres of petrol which costs

more than Rs400 while it costs only Rs55 to travel the same distance on an e-scooter.

And electric scooters have instant torque which is perfect for riding, she added.

NIU is one of the most popular e-scooters in the country.

Designed for European countries and assembled in China, NIU has sold more than 270 units of scooters in the country so far, said KC.

NIU uses lithium ion batteries produced by LG and Panasonic in its scooters, she said, adding, the battery has a life-cycle of 5-6 years. The battery cost Rs80,000 which used to cost Rs160,000 a year before, she told.

With the increasing demand of electric vehicles around the world, battery prices are decreasing, she said.

Prices of NIU e-scooters start from 229,000. The company provides a two year warranty on its battery and motor. The company plans to introduce two new models in 2019, she said.

Other notable features found on NIU scooters include kilometre tracker, battery health and charge information, disc brakes and light weight.

Shyam Sundar Sapkota, general manager at Fair Trade, the authorised distributor of Terra motors said that e-scooter sales have swelled compared to the past, but they were still lower than expected.

Similarly, the company plans to introduce two new models in April 2019. According to him, the company sold 265 units in 2018 and plans to sell 500 units this year.

Published: 28-01-2019 07:50

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