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EV Report

      Electric Vehicles in Kathmandu


From 1993 to 1996 at the request of the Municipality of Kathmandu, Nepal, GRI initiated a very successful electric vehicle program to help alleviate the severe air pollution in that city. This program, supported by US-AEP/NASDA, USAID/Nepal, and US-AEP designed and introduced the SAFA Tempo, a battery operated three wheeler which operates as a mini-bus carrying 10 passengers on fixed routes in the city. GRI built a demonstration fleet of eight SAFA Tempos and operated them as a transportation company for six months. The vehicles carried over 200,000 passengers and travelled over 175,000 km. during the demonstration period.

In an equally significant component of the program, GRI worked with the government of Nepal to reduce duties on electric vehicles and components and to establish other incentives for electric transportation, with the private sector to develop business plans, and with the public to raise awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles.

For a report on the program in Nepal, Promoting Electric Vehicles in the Developing World, presented at the International Electric Vehicle Conference, November 1998, San Jose, Costa Rica, click here.

Since December 1997 significant strides have been made regarding electric vehicles in Nepal:
To date five companies have manufactured over 600 SAFA Tempos and have provided battery exchange services.
•SAFA Tempos are carrying millions of passengers a year in Kathmandu and other cities in Nepal and widely distributed battery charging stations have been established.
• The Nepalese government has banned all diesel three-wheelers from Kathmandu.
• Public pride in the electric vehicles and preference for them have truly developed into local ownership of the electric vehicle program. Over the past eight years, public demand for electric vehicles has thwarted numerous attempts to bring diesel three-wheelers into the Kathmandu Valley.
•Local industry is now producing battery chargers, forward/reverse switches, and other components for the electric vehicle industry and is providing maintenance for the vehicles.
•Almost all of the development of the electric vehicle industry has taken place in the private sector without foreign aid.

In 1997 at the conclusion of its electric vehicle program in Kathmandu, Global Resources Institute received support form SNV, the Dutch NGO, for further work on electric transportation in Nepal. Since then GRI's activities in electric transportation have continued in Nepal and have expanded to other countries in Asia and Central America and to the Pacific Northwest.

A report by Anil Baral, "The Electric Vehicle Industry in Nepal" can be found in Home Power Magazine, #79, October/November 2000, pages 74 - 78.


     The Original SAFA Tempo



    SAFA Tempos on Earth Day



    SAFA Tempo on Parade

Global Resources Institute can be contacted at
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  last modified January 2006