Switch to electric
As the valley denizens are already tired of frequent fuel shortage, they seem to be inclined towards electric bikes and scooters. Since the demand for electric two-wheelers is increasing, the number of these two-wheeler brands is also growing accordingly. In the past couple of years, several electric two-wheeler brands were introduced in the Nepali market like — Terra Motors, Hero Electric, Vmoto, BMC Electric Scooters and newly launched Bela Motors.
“We have experienced a sizeable amount of sales within the first 10 months of the introduction of our electric scooters,” said Suraj Ghiraiya, Managing Director of Prime Business, authorised distributor of Hero Electric Nepal, adding that they enjoy around 25 per cent of market share. “Unlike earlier, now customers are accepting e-scooters and are aware about the benefits of electric vehicles,” he said, adding that benefits like cost effectiveness and environment friendliness attracts customers. “Frequent fuel and ever increasing price of petrol has also encouraged customers to switch to e-vehicles,” he said, adding that these vehicles are relatively economic.
“Although the market for electric vehicles is gradually emerging, certain unclear policies related to registration has somehow affected the market,” said Ujjwal Joshi, Sales and Marketing Head at Fair Auto, authorised distributor of Terra Motors. Terra Motors enjoys around 12 per cent market share in the electric two-wheeler segment. The company has one outlet in Kathmandu and 17 outlets outside the valley.
“We have been in the Nepali market for the last two years and of late the market is getting much better than before,” said Surendra Manandhar, Managing Director of Asta Auto-mobiles, authorised distributor of Vmoto Nepal. “Vmoto is an Australian e-scooter brand and is targets young generation riders,” he added. According to him, they have altogether three outlets in Kathmandu and three outside the valley — Pokhara, Janakpur and Udaypur.
Registration comes as a speed breaker
Since last March, Department of Transport Management (DoTM) had introduced the new provision that the electric two-wheelers have to be registered after conducting road worthiness test at DoTM. According to DoTM, these two-wheeler riders should possess driving licence. The department is also supposed to allow these vehicles to operate only in fixed areas. The department also warned e-scooter dealers not to misguide customers by transmitting false information on taxation, registration and licensing when they sell e-scooters.
The DoTM came up with this provision of registration only after the The Himalayan Times disclosed that more than 5,000 unregistered e-scooters were plying the valley roads.
“We have applied for the registration of our two-wheelers in the Department of Transport Management but the registration process is quite tedious as the process is not clear enough,” complained Manandhar, adding that still there are no specific policies related to electric vehicles. “The policy directs every electric two-wheelers to go through road worthiness test but we are still in dilemma,” said Ghiraiya, adding that the criteria along with its process is quite vague. Citing that customers are discouraged by the new rules, he said, “The sales of e-sooters have been badly affected after the introduction of the new policy.”
When asked about the electric two-wheeler dealers’ allegations regarding registration process, Director and Spokesperson at DoTM, Basanta Adhikari said, “The process for the registration of electric two-wheelers is similar to that of petrol-run two-wheelers.” He added, “The only difference is from road worthiness test to vehicle registration — everything has to be performed by the company, not by the rider.” Citing that they fully support electric scooters, Adhikari said, “The DoTM is planning to come up with a concrete guideline for the electric vehicles within a couple of months.” According to him, every electric two-wheelers company should abide by law and take permission from DoTM before importing the e-scooters in the country.