Electric Vehicles were introduced in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1975 when the Chinese Government set up the trolley bus system along the 13-km route between Tripureswor and Surya-Binayak. After that, the Electric Vehicles movement took off in 1989, when a fuel crisis resulting from the India imposed trade embargo prompted a group of engineers to find an alternative arrangement for transportation. The group called the Electric Vehicle Development Group converted an old car into an EV in 1992.
Air pollution is a major problem in Kathmandu, primarily because of the increasing number of vehicles on narrow and congested streets. Over the past five years, the number of vehicles in Kathmandu Valley has been increasing at approximately 17 percent per year. Therefore an efficient transport system with clean vehicles is urgently required to combat Kathmandu’s air pollution. Electric vehicles has proven to be the one of the most suitable means of transportation in Kathmandu, and there is a clear need to further promote these environment friendly vehicles.
The project converted 7 polluting diesel operated three-wheelers into Electric Vehicles (Safa Tempos), and successfully operated them as public vehicles for six months. At the end of the pilot project in early 1996, a group of Nepali professionals and entrepreneurs bought the 7 Electric Vehicles and started the first EV Company, Nepal Electrical Vehicle Industry (NEVI) in Kathmandu. Currently, over 600 Safa Tempos are plying on the streets of the valley and there are five Electric Vehicle manufacturers.
Recently Hulas Motors, a subsidiary of Golchha Organisation, has taken the initiative to produce a zero-emission electric vehicle for private owners. Hulas new electric car model is called “Da Vinci”. The company is currently testing the prototypes in Kathmandu and hilly areas. It said the car will be priced at around Rs1.4 million which is equivelent to a new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800.
Hulas Motors Manager Prafulla Chandra Das said the electric cars are locally assembled, with parts imported from China.
Hulas Motors has been manufacturing three- and four-wheelers since 1994 and its famous “Mustang Max” jeep—which was used by former Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai as his official vehicle.