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Nepal: Govt’s electric vehicle plan brings cheers

Nepal, Nov. 27 — Given the deteriorating quality of air in Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC)’s recent announcement to introduce 14-seater electric vehicles (EVs) as public transport in the New Road area in the next few months has environmentalists and EV advocates jumping for joy.

It was back in 2002 that the first lot of the battery-operated designed-in-California Reva cars were introduced in the country by EcoVision. Although a decade has passed since they first plied the streets, the tiny environment-friendly cars still turns heads even in Kathmandu. The ubiquity of face masks and dense smog that often envelopes the Capital city

should have been enough cause for concern and for the government to actively promote zero-emission electric vehicles. However, the government, which collects the second largest amount of revenue through custom charges on vehicles, has so far failed to promote EVs in the Nepali market.

When the Reva was first introduced, it was subject to the same tax rate as petrol and diesel vehicles,

making it far too expensive for most Nepalis and, therefore, only attracting a few diplomatic missions

and international who do not have to pay

customs taxes. However, years of lobbying from different groups have brought about a 50 percent waiver in excise duty, making the Revas slightly more affordable for personal use.
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