EV fares hiked

Kathmandu, February 27:

With effect from today, the Clean Locomotive Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal (CLEAN) has decided to hike the fares of the electric vehicles (EVs) plying in the capital by Re 1 and Re 2.

“We have been forced to increase the fare because of the increase in the price of battery and other parts of the EVs by as much as 40 per cent,” Umesh Raj Shrestha, president of the CLEAN, told this daily today.

However, travelling in the EVs is still cheaper in comparison to fares being charged by the vehicles that run on fossil fuel. While the minimum charge of the EVs has been increased to Re 7 from Re 6, while minibuses charge Re 9 as minimum fare.

President Shrestha said the EVs had been ferrying passengers on all its 18 routes in the valley by levying the minimum charge. “However, with the constant inflation in all the commodities every time the price in the petroleum products hikes we could not keep with the existing fare structure. We had not effected a fare hike for three years,” he added.

The CLEAN has also requested all the people to help promote the clean EVs.

Experts believe the new fares could help the clean locomotives compete with vehicles running on fossil fuel and survive. More and more entrepreneurs will be attracted to invest in clean vehicles, they believe.

Bhusan Tuladhar of the Clean Energy Nepal said though the operating cost of the EVs is more than that of other vehicles, the EVs were competing with them by keeping a minimum profit margin. The number of EVs could not increase due to the low profit margin, he said.

The nominal increase in fares will ensure the entrepreneurs a normal profit margin, thereby attracting more investment in the EV sector, he said. “With the increase in the price of fossil fuel, the rates of batteries and other essential parts of the EVs will also increase.”

Tuladhar also called for an EV-friendly policy.

Presently, some 600 EVs have been plying 18 different routes of the valley. Hridaya Narayan Manandhar, president of the Electric Vehicles Association of Nepal (EVAN), said Nepal could receive thousands of dollars through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the Kyoto Protocol if we could increase the number of EVs to 2,000 from 600 EVs.