Arbinda Tuladhar, 60, has been using electric scooters to commute 16km one way from Swayambhu to Kathmandu airport. Being an electrical engineer, he has struggled with many brands of battery-powered two-wheelers but always found the torque inadequate.
Finally, he has found one with enough oomph: the Japanese-made Terra Eco. “With this one, I don’t have to stop half-way up the incline on my daily commute.” Terra is one of several two-wheeler brands in Nepal that offers many advantages over petrol-powered ones. It started selling in Nepal in 2014, and has sold more than 1,000 units.
Now, Chinese scooters brands like Bella and NIU have also opened showrooms and are tapping the greater awareness about the environment among Nepal’s price-conscious youth.
Says Shyam Sapkota of Terra Motors Nepal: “We did a survey last year and found out that out of 1,800 respondents, most were senior citizens who wanted comfort and ease, and youths who wanted affordability.”
Arbinda Tuladhar, for instance, spends Rs250 on average on electricity and maintenance, compared to Rs4,500 a month if his scooter was petrol. The upfront cost of electric scooters also range from Rs100,000 to Rs260,000, which is similar to the prices of petrol scooters. the pricetag could come down further if the government cut the 10% customs duty and 13% VAT, and since battery prices have gone down worldwide, the price of e-scooters will be even lower in future.