EVs might stop running

Kathmandu, January 13:

Come Thursday, the 1.25 lakh Valley commuters will find themselves helpless as Electric Vehicles (EVs) — popularly known as Safa Tempos in the Valley — could not ply on the roads.

The reason: They cannot charge their batteries that need uninterrupted 18-hour power supply to be fully charged. However, there is a power outage of 16-hour daily at present.

These battery-run vehicles — alternative to expensive and

imported fuel-run vehicles — operators are all set to move on the warpath against government apathy from Thursday.

“We are launching s series of protest programmes from February 15,” said Vijay Man Sherchan, president of Electric Vehicles Association of Nepal (EVAN) speaking at a press meet today.

EVAN has even urged the government, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), Ministry of Water Resource and other related bodies to help them find solution. They have even submitted memorandum to Prime Minister, Ho-me Ministry, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Water Resou-rce, Ministry of Labour and Tran-sport management and NEA.

They have the solution as well. According to Sherchan, “Trolley Bus office has a power feeder that supplies 24-hour electricity.

“It could be an alternative charging station for the EVs,”

he said adding that there are

32 charging stations — in the

valley — that needs continuous power supply to charge batteries of Safa Tempos.

As a long-term strategy he suggested to set up a charging station in the Balaju Industrial Area, Trolley Bus office and Bhrikuti Mandap, the EVAN demanded.

“The rate of power demand is increasing by ten per cent every year,” Sherchan said and until another five years, there is no alternative to the power outage. “If only there was a long-term plan earlier, we would not have been in this condition,” he rued.

According to EVAN, there

are 700 battery-operated vehicles — plying on the valley roads — that need minimum 18 hours

of uninterrupted power supply

to charge. “But due to 16 hours

of power cuts daily, Safa tempos are unable to do their regular 10 trips a day,” he said adding that they are now operating only three to four trips.

Umesh Raj Shrestha, executive board member at EVAN said that the present condition is hitting the people dependent on this sector hard. “We have above Rs 500 million investment in this sector that provides employment — direct and indirect — to more than 10,000 people,” he added.

EVAN has also asked the government to extend the electricity

bill payment duration to three more months and provide some relief to them because of the

increasing hours of load-shedding that has hurt them financially. “We are unable to pay the bank interest and instalments,” he complained.