Resources      Institute

EVs in Kathmandu

Promoting Electric Vehicles
in the Developing World

Presented at the International Electric Vehicle Conference, San Jose, Costa Rica November 1998



Peter Moulton, Ph.D.
Marilyn Cohen, J.D.
Global Resources Institute
P.O. Box 11752
Eugene, Oregon 97440 USA
Tel: 541-345-2204
 Fax: 541-344-0796
e-mail: <>



A very successful two year electric transportation demonstration program was conducted by Global Resources Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal with the support of US-AEP/NASDA and USAID/Nepal. Global Resources Institute designed and operated a public transportation fleet of eight 10 passenger three-wheel vehicles operating as mini-buses during a six month period, carrying over 200,000 passengers and traveling more than 175,000 km. This paper describes the program and addresses the issues of vehicle requirements, development of infrastructure for operation and maintenance, and the role of government in promoting electric transportation. The experience in Kathmandu provides a model for wider applicability in the developing world.


For many people the names Kathmandu, Nepal, and Himalayas evoke an image of an exotic Shangri-la far removed from the daily stress of our modern world. Nepal is a beautiful country with magnificent mountains, colorful countryside, and a rich cultural heritage. At the same time both visitors and residents of Kathmandu have become increasingly concerned about the deteriorating environment and increasing health costs. This paper describes a very successful program undertaken by Global Resources Institute to introduce electric vehicles into Kathmandu in an attempt to help reduce air pollution. In addition this paper draws upon the experiences gained to make recommendations for similar projects in other locations.

Like Kathmandu, many cities in the developing world suffer from severe air pollution, much of it stemming from vehicle emissions. A very conservative cost-benefit analysis made by Global Resources Institute found that the cost of vehicle emissions in Kathmandu is at least US$10 million per year. A study by the World Bank found the cost of air pollution in New Delhi to be US$100 million to $400 million per year.

As the populations of cities in the developing world have grown dramatically, the need for public transportation and goods delivery has increased. The population of Kathmandu is now over one million, more than double that of ten years ago. The number of motor vehicles has quadrupled with a rapid increase in the number of highly polluting three-wheelers for public transportation and the number of two-stroke motorcycles for personal transportation.

While the larger number of vehicles itself produces an increase in air pollution, there are other factors which play an important role in Kathmandu. In most cases the vehicles are poorly maintained. In addition the quality of fuel is often extremely low. Since the price of petrol (about US$2.16 per gallon) is so much higher than subsidized diesel ( about US$0.87 per gallon ) or subsidized kerosene (about US$0.60 per gallon ), petrol is often found to be diluted with the cheaper fuels to the detriment of both the vehicle and the environment. Finally, the recency of these environmental problems must be dealt with by a government just now developing environmental regulations and the processes for enforcement.

Kathmandu provides an excellent setting for both the challenges and the opportunities for electric vehicles. It lies at about 1400 meters in a hanging valley surrounded by mountains rising another 1,000 meters. This valley of only 540 square kilometers is subject to serious air inversions. Kathmandu with its adjacent neighbor, Patan, are very compact encircled by a ring road less than 35 km. in length and a diameter less than 12 km. in any direction. With the exception of five major streets, most traffic through the city is on narrow congested streets. For these reasons, distances traveled are short and speeds are low. The maximum speed in the city is 40 km/hr. and the average less than 12 km/hr. The roads are generally level with each major route having one or two gradients of less than 8% and lengths of less than 200 meters. The steepest road gradient measured is 13%.

In addition Nepal has the second greatest potential for hydroelectric power in the world and power tariffs are low. The cost of electricity for transportation is US$0.055 per kilowatt hour. Finally, Kathmandu has a temperate climate with temperatures very seldom below freezing and seldom above 35 degrees Celsius. All of these conditions make Kathmandu well suited for a very standard, low cost electric vehicle technology. The relatively small number of vehicles compared with cities such as New Delhi and Bangkok provides the opportunity to make dramatic improvements in air quality at a relatively low cost in a short period of time.

The Electric Vehicle Program for Kathmandu

In 1993 the Municipality of Kathmandu requested that Global Resources Institute undertake a program to introduce electric vehicles to Kathmandu as one approach to reduce its serious air pollution. In September 1993, with partial support from US-AEP/NASDA, GRI built the first Safa Tempo ("Safa" is Nepali for clean and "tempo" is the generic name for three-wheelers). This led to a USAID/Nepal supported program for electric vehicles which was carried out from November 1994 to November 1996.

It should be emphasized that the process of introducing electric vehicles into a developing country entails much more than designing and producing a vehicle. At the beginning of the program there was very little awareness, much less acceptance, of electric vehicles on the part of the government or the public. Some early newspaper coverage of the project treated electric vehicles as a joke. Also, there were no mechanics knowledgeable about electric vehicles or workshops capable of assembling them. Governmental agencies regulating vehicles and public transportation routes had to be educated about the nature and benefits of electric vehicles. In order to establish electric vehicles as an economically viable alternative and to establish them on a sustainable basis, considerable effort was given to encouraging the government to reduce duties and establish incentives and to working with the private sector to encourage investment in locally created electric vehicle companies.

Types of Vehicles

The composition of vehicle traffic in Kathmandu which is typical of many cities in South Asia can be categorized into the following classes:

1. Public transportation

  - large diesel buses, carrying 40+ passengers both within the city and across country

  - minibuses which operate primarily within the city carrying 25 to 40 passengers

  - diesel three-wheelers operating as small buses on fixed routes carrying 10 to 12


  - three-wheelers which operate as meter taxis for up to three passengers

  - four wheel sedan meter taxis carrying four passengers

  - bicycle rickshaws

2. Goods delivery

  - large diesel trucks which are prohibited from operating in certain areas of the city during

     certain times of day

  - smaller diesel and petrol trucks

  - diesel three-wheelers

  - petrol three-wheelers

  - diesel and petrol tractors

  - bicycle rickshaws

3.) Private passenger transportation including government, foreign mission vehicles and tourist vehicles

  - buses

  - passenger cars

  - motorcycles

Accurate data on the exact number of vehicles is difficult to find. In 1993 the total number of vehicles in Kathmandu was given at about 85,000 of which approximately half were motorcycles and two-wheel scooters. In 1997 the total number of vehicles had risen to about 150,000 of which 85,000 were motorcycles and two-wheel scooters.

The Demonstration Vehicles and Program

Public transportation was targeted for the initial demonstration of electric vehicles for a number of reasons. Firstly, while the number of vehicles in service for public transportation is far smaller than the number of motorcycles and two-wheel scooters, the former vehicles are on the road almost continuously for up to 15 hours per day and thus contribute a larger portion of the road traffic and the pollution. Secondly, those public transportation vehicles which operate on fixed routes provide better conditions for charging programs or battery exchange. Thirdly, a demonstration of electric public transportation is more visible and gives a larger number of people first hand experience with electric vehicles.

The public transportation diesel three-wheeler was selected as the demonstration vehicle. Although there are only 1500 of these vehicles in operation, they have the reputation of being the worst polluter because they ply the major routes through the city and emit clouds of highly visible black smoke. Because of this reputation importation of new three-wheelers into the Kathmandu Valley has been banned since April 1993. Demonstrating a clean version of this vehicle provided the maximum contrast with internal combustion vehicles and elicited widespread attention and approval. Also, the government wanted assurances that existing diesel three-wheelers could be converted to electric power.

The diesel three-wheelers operating in Kathmandu are made by Scooters India Ltd., a Government of India corporation in Lucknow. They have a payload of 1000 kg. and are driven by a one cylinder four-stroke diesel engine rated at 10 hp. The bodies are built in Nepal.

Because of the modest performance requirements, fairly common off-the-shelf electric vehicle components were employed. An Advanced D.C. Motors K91-4003 6.7" motor, a Curtis 1209B controller, and 72 volts of battery power ( 12 - Trojan T-105 batteries ) provided the basic components. The motor was connected by direct drive through second gear of the factory installed transmission ( 1:6 ). Maximum speed is 45 km/hr. and the maximum range on one charge of the batteries is 60 km. (Normal usage was about 50 km. per charge.) More detailed specifications are given in appendix I.

The chassis of the electric tempo was imported from India and the electric drive train installed and body built in Kathmandu. Although the prototype vehicles were more costly, production costs of the vehicle, exclusive of batteries, are about US$3500. In Kathmandu the current price of a used diesel tempo in good condition is about US$5500. The Safa Tempos are currently being marketed at about US$6,000 exclusive of batteries. (Cost of batteries and battery replacement are considered operating expenses.)

The chassis, without motor, of the diesel three-wheeler was imported for the platform of the electric tempo. Since the vehicle carried 360 kg. of batteries as well as 550 kg. for 10 passengers plus driver, it operated at close to maximum payload. The vehicle suspension was reinforced by adding a leaf to the rear springs and by installing an improved bearing design in the front suspension. Even more improvement to the suspension would be desirable. In addition, since regenerative braking was not installed, the brakes were operated close to design limits. Both larger brakes and regenerative braking would be very desirable, especially if the vehicle were to operate at higher speeds. While a four-wheeler would provide a safer and more balanced design, the three-wheeler has a widespread reputation as appropriate low-cost transportation in much of South Asia.

In the absence of existing workshops equipped and trained to build electric vehicles, a workshop was created in the compound from which the demonstration vehicles were to be operated. A group of four local mechanics worked with two expatriate consultants in building the demonstration vehicles. As part of this process, all of the accessory 12 volt wiring on the chassis was replaced in order to ensure adequate quality. With supervision by the consultants, local machine shops produced such components as motor mounting plates and couplings. After building seven vehicles, one of the four local mechanics was able to oversee the building of the eighth vehicle and the maintenance of the fleet during operation.

Because the tempos must travel about 150 km. per day, batteries were exchanged twice a day. The batteries were placed in metal "baskets", six to a basket, weighing about 180 kg. each for a total of 360 kg. per tempo. Each tempo carried two baskets which were exchanged through doors behind the driver's seat and under the transverse passenger seat which faced backwards behind the driver's cab. Exchange was accomplished by two technicians using Genie Industries winch-operated hand lifts which were adapted for use on the uneven brick pavement of the compound. Exchange could be accomplished in about five minutes. Battery baskets were stored outdoors on metal racks where they were charged at off-peak hours. Each battery was thus cycled daily and the battery lifetime was approximately 450 cycles.

The vehicles operated on a daytime route of approximately 17 km. per return trip and a nighttime route of approximately 25 km. The daytime route required about one and a half hours per trip and the nighttime route about two hours. Vehicles returned for battery exchange after each three circuits of the daytime route. Batteries used for the nighttime route were recharged in the vehicle overnight and were used for the first three trips of the next day's daytime route. The routes were designed to begin and end at the servicing compound. The first shift drivers drove four circuits of the daytime route; the second shift drivers, two circuits of the daytime route and the two circuits of the nighttime route. For security reasons conductors accompanied the drivers on the nighttime route. This reduced the maximum nighttime load to nine passengers.

Due to the necessity to schedule battery exchange and to provide maximum service to passengers, the vehicles were operated on a schedule. In order to maintain the schedule, specified stops were established for loading and unloading passengers. Signs were posted at these stops. These components of schedule, stopping points and signs were unprecedented and required considerable effort to establish.

Drivers were given a three-week training program in the proper operation of an electric vehicle and in the procedures for scheduling and fee collecting. Quite high standards of performance were set by the project and were met by the drivers who had a strong sense of pride in being part of the electric vehicle program.

Other Requirements for a Sustainable Program

In order to provide a sustainable basis for the introduction of electric vehicles in a developing country, a broad program is required -- much more than introducing a vehicle. Because of the modest performance requirements, the design and testing of a vehicle become relatively straightforward components of an overall program. A major element of the overall program focused on establishing an infrastructure for building, maintaining, servicing and operating electric vehicles.

As electric vehicles become more numerous, there will be a pressing need for mechanics and technicians trained in electric vehicle technology. Discussions with local training institutes indicated interest in developing appropriate training programs but reluctance to invest in such programs until the demand for such courses justifies the development costs. External incentives for both schools and students will likely be necessary for the development of an adequate training program.

As mentioned above, battery exchange was required in order to meet the range requirements of the vehicles. The power distribution within the city was judged as being inadequate for individual charging and opportunity charging at the present time. It is likely that battery exchange will continue to be the method of choice for most commercial operation of electric vehicles in Kathmandu for the near term. Even for the eight demonstration vehicles, using three sets of batteries per day, charging and maintaining the batteries required considerable training of technicians.

A third major area of activity required to successfully introduce electric vehicles is that of working with government and the private sector to develop support for electric transportation. In Kathmandu during the project period, this entailed working with three changes of government. The program worked closely with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Tourism together with the various departments contained within each ministry and with the National Planning Commission. Work with the private sector involved presentations and discussions with transport associations, chambers of commerce, banks, businesses and potential investment groups.

A major goal of interactions with the government was to encourage reduction of the duties placed on electric vehicles and their components. At the time of the project, Nepal placed duty and sales taxes totaling about 60% on the importation of an internal combustion three-wheeler and as much as 160% on a four-wheeled vehicle. Duty and sales taxes on batteries and electronic components ranged from 20% to 40%. In July 1995 and July 1996 the government reduced the duty and sales tax to 1% for the chassis and components to build electric three-wheelers or to convert diesel three-wheelers, 5% for parts for other electric vehicles and 10% for all complete electric vehicles. This reduction made electric vehicles very competitive and encouraged many business groups to consider entering the electric vehicle field.

Additionally the discussions with the government were focused on regulations for the operation of electric vehicles plus incentives and privileges for electric vehicles. Initial discussions were also held regarding standards and regulations for the manufacture and maintenance of electric vehicles. Information regarding the need for environmentally sound battery recycling and possible alternatives for battery recycling were also presented to the government.

As the demonstration progressed, local and regional banking institutions became interested in providing loans for the assembly and operation of electric vehicles. Nepal requires banks to place a portion of their investments at concessionary rates in the priority sector which includes environmental areas. Until the introduction of electric vehicles, most banks had preferred to pay fines rather than invest in the available environmental projects. Since current interest rates are in the 16% to 19% range with outside collateral required, any reduction in these terms is very attractive to prospective borrowers.

As part of the project numerous meetings were held with potential investment groups providing information, consultation and encouragement to establish business ventures for the assembly, importation, servicing or operation of electric vehicles. In addition the project made connections between several foreign manufacturers and local businesses. At the conclusion of the project, two companies had been formed to assemble, service and operate electric three-wheelers and one or two more were in the process of starting. One of these companies purchased the demonstration vehicles and workshop through closed bid and has continued to operate them successfully.

Outcome of Demonstration

The electric three-wheeler successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility of electric vehicles. While many improvements in the suspension, braking and some electric components were indicated, the demonstration vehicles operated reliably and safely. During the six-month demonstration the tempos traveled over 175,000 km. and carried over 200,000 passengers . They have continued to operate successfully for more than two years. Battery exchange has been demonstrated as a practical method of achieving the required range. Experience has shown that one charger capable of a six-hour charge time and two sets of batteries per vehicle can be used rather than the three chargers and three sets of batteries used during the demonstration. This will reduce costs significantly.

The demonstration also established the economic viability of electric transportation in Kathmandu. As noted above the reduction of duties and sales taxes makes the price of an electric vehicle competitive with that of an internal combustion vehicle. The price of an electric three-wheeler assembled by one of the new companies in Kathmandu is about 10% higher than that of a new diesel three-wheeler. (However, as noted above, importation of new diesel three-wheelers into Kathmandu is prohibited.)

The operating cost of an electric three-wheeler is less than the operating cost of a petrol three-wheeler but higher than the operating cost of a diesel three-wheeler as detailed below.

Table 1: Comparison of Operating Costs

Cost of electricity $0.055/kwh.          Energy consumption 0.20 kwh/km

Operating Costs                              Electric                     Diesel                     Petrol

electricity per km.                             $0.011

cost of batteries (2 sets)                  1340.00

km. per 2 battery sets                   45000.00

battery replacement cost per km.          0.03

fuel per km.                                          0.04 *                   0.025                   0.057

maintenance per km.                           0.004                      0.010                   0.010

operating cost per km.                        0.044                       0.035                   0.068

* electric "fuel" is electricity + battery replacement

When the overhead of battery exchange and amortization of charging facilities is factored in, the cost per km. increases. However, the electric tempos were allowed to charge 33% higher fare than the diesel and petrol tempos which more than offset this overhead. In fact, at the higher fare the electric tempos realized 17% higher profit than the diesel tempos and 92% higher profit than the petrol tempos. With only a few exceptions passengers readily accepted the higher fare for a cleaner, quieter ride.

Public acceptance of the electric tempos was extremely high. Passengers frequently came to the compound to board the tempos after battery exchange because they knew that if they waited at the first stop there would be more people waiting than the capacity of the tempo. The tempos were not only cleaner than the diesel tempos but considerably quieter. The only complaint voiced about the electric tempos was that there were too few of them. During the project over 100 articles about the electric tempos appeared in local newspapers. On several occasions they were the subject of the daily cartoon. The electric vehicle program also received extensive TV coverage. Safa Tempo has become a household word in Kathmandu and a symbol of hope for the environment.

At the time of this writing, the Safa Tempos have carried over one million people, six companies have formed in Kathmandu to produce and operate electric vehicles, and the Danish government is planning a major project to assist the conversion or replacement of all of the existing diesel three-wheelers. In addition other cities within Nepal and within South Asia have become aware of the developments in Kathmandu and have asked for guidance in developing electric transportation programs to alleviate their air pollution.

The Role of Government

Introducing and promoting an electric transport system require a broad, multi-sector approach. The general sectors which must be addressed include consumers (owners, operators, passengers), vehicle manufacturing and distribution, power distribution, financial (banks and donors), educational, governmental and, for many developing countries, a new sector: battery recycling.

The situation at the beginning is that of the chicken and egg. Before consumers will commit themselves to electric vehicles, a reliable, cost effective and safe supply of vehicles and services must be available. Before investors will commit their money to manufacturing, distribution, and servicing of electric vehicles, they must know that the market will make their investments profitable. To introduce and promote electric transportation, the issues of both sides must be addressed, often in an incremental fashion.

With regard to the market, the increasing problem of air pollution from vehicle emissions in urban areas leads to excitement and enthusiasm in all sectors for pollution-free transportation. In most cases, acceptance of electric vehicles can be quickly developed by increasing public awareness and providing education to answer the many questions which arise regarding cost, safety, reliability, etc. The demonstration of electric vehicles in actual service conditions such as public transportation offers people real experiences of the advantages of electric vehicles such as zero tailpipe emissions, low noise, smoother ride, etc. and promotes acceptance and preference. Strong educational programs and public awareness programs have also been developed in many countries by local non-governmental organizations which often collaborate at an international level.

Once the initial interest has developed, the potential purchasers and operators of electric vehicles for public transportation, goods delivery and other applications begin to address the critical questions of their businesses: initial cost and potential profits of operating these vehicles. There are many measures the government may take to address these concerns. In order to promote electric vehicles in a timely manner, the government should anticipate these concerns and begin to take the necessary measures at the beginning of the program.

To help make electric vehicles cost-competitive with internal combustion vehicles, the import duties on vehicles and components to manufacture vehicles can be reduced. In many developing countries the import duties on vehicles are very high and significant reductions are possible, especially for public transportation and goods delivery. As mentioned above, in Nepal the duty on a four wheel internal combustion van is as much as 160% while the duty on an electric van is 10%. The duties on components to build electric three-wheelers is 1%. This means that a US$20,000 internal combustion van costs $52,000 with duties. An electric version of the same van might cost as much as $30,000 because of batteries and low production volumes, but will cost only $33,000 with duties. While the higher duties on the electric vehicles are not realized by the government, the government is not required to actually invest money. In addition, the reduced duties for electric vehicles can be limited to an initial period and gradually raised as electric vehicles become more common and their profitable operation is realized. In Nepal the reduction of duties was considered the single most important incentive by Global Resources Institute, the government and the business community.

Another approach to reducing the costs of purchasing electric vehicles is to implement a program for financing for the purchase of electric vehicles at reduced interest rates. This can be done by the government, foreign aid organizations, or the banking sector. A program recently initiated in Nepal by the Danish Government will establish a revolving low-cost loan fund for the conversion of diesel three-wheelers to electric power. In Nepal, reduced interest rates was the most often cited need by potential owners and second to reduced duties by potential manufacturers and distributors of electric vehicles.

Depending on the circumstances in a particular country, other economic incentives are possible. In some areas such as Hong Kong, reducing the high costs of registration taxes and operating licenses provides strong incentives. In other situations reducing the taxes on income made through the use of electric vehicles can be effective. This was an incentive adopted in Nepal.

In many countries, the high price of petroleum fuel makes electric transportation cost effective. Where this is not the case, the petroleum fuels are usually subsidized in some manner. Either reducing the petroleum subsidies or establishing a reduced electric power tariff for transportation can reduce the artificial advantage of petroleum fuels. In Nepal the cost of electricity for transportation is about one-third less than that for residential or small business usage.

However, the main determinant of operating cost of a battery operated vehicle is the cost of battery replacement. Batteries are the real "fuel" of such a vehicle. In Nepal the cost of battery replacement per kilometer is about four times that of the cost of electricity per kilometer. Depending upon the type of battery and the utilization of the vehicle, the batteries will have to be replaced in approximately 12 months to 36 months. Including the cost of batteries in the initial price of the vehicle artificially inflates the vehicle price; it is equivalent to including 12 months to 36 months of fuel in the initial price of a vehicle. For this reason battery cost should be considered part of operating cost, not vehicle cost.

There are several measures the government can take to eliminate the up front cost of the batteries. The French government has established a battery leasing program for electric vehicles. The government might also consider providing low-cost loan funds to spread the cost of the batteries over their lifetime. Another possibility is for the government to establish a battery charging and exchange utility which would purchase the batteries and then recover the cost by including it in the daily rate for charging and exchange.

In addition to economic incentives, there are a number of possible operational incentives which can promote the shift to electric transportation. Especially in congested city centers, privileged parking areas, often with recharging facilities, can be especially attractive. Traffic lanes dedicated to electric vehicles, areas of the city restricted to low-emission vehicles, and special hours of operation provide additional incentives. In Nepal, taxis failing emission tests were not allowed to travel to the airport which is an important source of revenue. Especially in the densely populated and crowded city centers, restriction of traffic to electric vehicles during prime daytime hours would be not only an incentive to electric vehicles but a blessing to the populace.

In addition to providing incentives, governments need to develop confidence that electric vehicles will continue to be cost effective. Where battery charging or exchange services are provided, the vehicle owner must have confidence that prices of these services will not be arbitrarily raised after a commitment to them has been made. Just as the governments of many developing countries provide some regulation of fuel prices, they might consider regulating the prices of electric vehicle batteries and battery charging and exchange services. In some cases, the government itself might establish battery charging and exchange utilities.

Finally, educational institutions can be assisted in the development of technical training programs to train the technicians necessary for the reliable and safe maintenance of electric vehicles. Such programs will also provide skilled technicians for manufacturing of electric vehicles.

With regard to the supply side of promoting electric vehicles, the development of a strong market will in itself stimulate the development of the supply. Additional incentives can expedite the process. As above, reduction of duties on components and machinery necessary to manufacture, assemble or service electric vehicles can be a major incentive. Also reduction of income taxes or provision of tax holidays for new companies can draw investors into this area. The government can and should encourage new electric vehicle companies by facilitating registration of the companies and by reducing any bureaucratic hurdles. Favorable financing arrangements for assisting in capital development and in obtaining operating capital are important. In Nepal, we recommended that the government consider electric vehicle companies as part of the "priority sector" which receives special financing from banks. In order to assist local manufacture of vehicles and to assist the development of the service industry such as battery charging and battery exchange, the government can help facilitate joint ventures between local companies and foreign companies.

In order to be most effective, the government policy on electric vehicles needs to be clearly stated and easily understood by the public, investors, foreign companies and agencies within the government itself. It needs to be publicized to all of these groups. It needs to be implemented uniformly and not on a case-by-case basis. In order to have this policy implemented uniformly and consistently by all governmental agencies, these governmental agencies themselves have to be made aware of the benefits of electric vehicles and of the requirements for the successful introduction of them. Through education, participation in demonstrations, and through public media, governmental officials at all levels can develop pride in their country's electric vehicle program and in its benefit to themselves and others. In Nepal governmental officials in many agencies as well as employees in hotels, shops and many businesses developed a pride in having electric vehicles in their city and in many instances made special efforts to further its success.


The Electric Vehicle Program for Kathmandu has established electric vehicles as an important component in the solution of Kathmandu's environmental problems. One feature of the program which was essential to its success was the broad scope of the program. Assisting the government in its promotion of electric transportation was a central element. USAID considered this program as a very successful project and described it as a success story on their web page at . The success of this program has become widely known in South Asia and should make introduction of electric vehicles in other areas easier. Hopefully, it will provide a model for other such programs in the developing world and offer possible guidelines for governments in other locations for the promotion of electric vehicles.


Global Resources Institute would like to acknowledge US-AEP/NASDA for its support of the first Safa Tempo and USAID/Nepal and its Director, Frederick E. Machmer Jr., for the financial and logistical support of this project, which required special administrative attention as USAID's only urban environmental project in Nepal. In addition we would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support of the Hon. Sandy Vogelgesang, then U.S. Ambassador to Nepal and her frequent and valuable advocacy with His Majesty's Government of Nepal and the design consultants who worked on the two phases of the project: Jose Baer, Henning Bitsch, Jeff Clearwater and Burton Gabriel.

Appendix: Specifications of the Safa Tempo

Chassis: three-wheel manufactured by Scooters India, Ltd. in Lucknow, India

Body: manufactured in Kathmandu

Dimensions: length 3480 mm.

                  width 1482 mm.

                  ground clearance 140 mm.

                 wheel track 1316 mm.

                 wheel base at full load 2270 mm.

                 turning circle 7000 mm.

                 tires 4.50x10

                 payload 360 kg. batteries plus 600 kg. passengers

Drive Train: Advanced DC K91-4003 72 volt motor,

                   25 ft-lbs.. @ 3000 rpm, 8.5 HP @ 3800 rpm., peak 22 HP

                  Curtis 1209-72 controller

                  gear reduction through reduction gear and differential

Cabelform 72-12 volt 15A DC/DC converter

manual reversing switch (Havell, India);

Batteries: Trojan T-105 x 12 (6v., 220 @ C20)

Performance: max. speed 45 km/hr

                     range 60 km. (battery exchange 2/day for total range of 180 km.)

                     max. grade on route in Kathmandu - 13%

                     10 passengers plus driver

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