Electric car importers also report a rise in customer demand, a surge in queries from people who are tired of being locked down for nearly two years, and want to be out and about – and that means being able to drive to Biratnagar or Bhairawa and beyond on the new e-SUVs without stopping to recharge.
Brands that have a head start with battery power in Nepal are Hyundai, Kia, Mahindra, MG, TATA, and a plethora of Chinese brands like BYD, Great Wall Motors, Dahe, and Derry.
Besides range, potential buyers in Nepal will be looking at ruggedness, interior space, and ground clearance. While some of the fancier SUVs are attractive to look at and have a rocket-like takeoff, it may be more important in Nepal to see that the cars have more than 180mm ground clearance – otherwise you will be scraping your expensive bottom on road craters.
Much more critical than a formidable acceleration of 0-60km in 4.6 seconds is also charging time and battery life. Most lithium-ion batteries have an 8-year warranty these days, and need 1 hour to recharge 80% with DC fast charge. Charging at home with a 15amp wall plug should not take more than 8 hours.
Despite everything, the electric car’s main attraction with the tax rebate is the money you save on fuel. An average diesel SUV needs Rs5,500 to fill its 40l fuel tank, but an electric version of the same vehicle will cost less than Rs500 for a complete charge for a 350km range. Multiply this by the volume of diesel you burn in an average month, and the savings add up.
The electric vehicles in the market now come with battery packs ranging from 20kWh to 64kWh, giving them ranges of 120km to nearly 500km – depending, of course, on AC use.