Nepal drives forward with electric mobility at national and municipal levels

On February 6, the GGGI Nepal team in partnership with the Ministry of Population and Environment, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Sajha Yatayat, a forward-looking bus operator cooperative in Kathmandu, held a high-level dissemination and strategy seminar to share findings and explore opportunities for moving forward with electric mobility in the country.

The seminar was attended by a range of government and non-governmental bodies, as well as national funding institutions and business representatives.

The seminar was part of the Electric Mobility Program, being implemented by Government of Nepal and GGGI. The program supports the achievement of key transport targets from Nepal’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), by delivering benefits across air quality, energy security and sustainable transport. As part of this, GGGI and Government of Nepal has developed a National Action Plan for Electric Mobility and key findings and proposals from the plan were shared during the seminar. “We are committed to establishing an Electric Mobility Unit within the federal government,” said Mr. Rajendra Raj Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, referring to one of the priority actions proposed under the plan.

Key operational and financial findings from a pre-feasibility study on deploying electric buses at municipal level, in Kathmandu, were also shared and implications for operators explored. Essentially, while upfront costs are higher, the operational benefits of switching to electric making doing so feasible, if assessed over the lifetime of the bus. In addition, social, economic and environmental benefits of switching to electric, which can be calculated at per bus level, augment the total benefits of switching, though these benefits do not accrue to the operator directly. “Electric is the future for Sajha Yatayat,” said Mr. Bhushan Tuladhar, Board Member of Sajha Yatayat, the bus operator cooperative that is exploring switching to electric.

Kathmandu has seen its air quality worsen over recent years, in part due to a significant rise in the number of vehicles on the city’s streets. Nepal’s NDC sets ambitious targets for the transport sector, but implementation has proven difficult. With the Electric Mobility Program, the Government of Nepal and GGGI are seeking to overcome barriers that have plagued implementation. “GGGI’s technical assistance has been instrumental in our progress towards meeting our international commitments under the NDC,” said Dr. Ram Pd Lamsal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Population and Environment, who opened the seminar.

For GGGI in Nepal, engagement in the electric mobility sector is a long-term and strategic priority. Ms. Jin Young Kim, Head of Programs, Asia Pacific, GGGI, who was Chair of the seminar, said, “With electric mobility, Nepal has an opportunity to leapfrog conventional transport technology. GGGI is excited to be working with Nepal’s government and transport leaders to mobilize investment and change on the ground.”

GGGI has been operating in Nepal since 2015, where it is embedded in the Ministry of Population and Environment. Over 2017-2018, in addition to the Electric Mobility Program, GGGI Nepal is implementing the Green Municipal Development Program in partnership with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development.