With the Government of Nepal pledging funds to electric buses, GGGI and its partners head to India to gather experience on electric bus procurement and deployment.

On July 21-27, 2019, GGGI, in coordination with the Ministry of Forests and Environment and Sajha Yatayat, a Nepal-based transportation company, organized a 6-day knowledge exchange across India. The delegation of officials, mainly from the Government of Nepal, including the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Province 3, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Municipality of Mahalaxmi, and Sajha Yatayat, visited electric bus operators and manufacturers in Kolkata, Pune and Mumbai. The goal of the knowledge exchange was to gather ground-level operational experience in the procurement, deployment, and manufacturing of electric buses.

The knowledge exchange was held immediately after the federal government committed NPR 300 crore (USD 26 million) to electric buses. Similarly, earlier in July, the governments of Province 3, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur Metropolitan Cities also committed funding.

GGGI’s technical support to the Government of Nepal began in 2017, when the Ministry of Forests and Environment (MOFE), in consultation with the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MOPIT), launched phase one of the Electric Mobility Program with GGGI. This phase saw the delivery of a pre-feasibility study for the deployment of electric buses for Sajha Yatayat, and the development of the National Action Plan for Electric Mobility, which was launched by the Honorable Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in October, 2018. Under phase two of the program, which spans from 2019-20, further technical and financial analysis will be undertaken for the investment of NPR 45 crore (USD 4 million) into electric buses, and a Provincial Electric Mobility Strategy will be developed for Province 3.

The knowledge exchange provided a useful platform for government and operators to share experiences, and key technical parameters and specifications were discussed, such as detailed information on battery size and drive range, as well as charging facilities, locations, and overall charging strategies. During the visit, Mr. Bhushan Tuladhar, Executive Director of Sajha Yatayat, noted that the subsidy scheme of the central Government of India, “has been essential in launching electric buses in India. If similar financial tools are implemented in Nepal, electric vehicles will flood our market in no time.”

Ending the trip on a high note, Mr. Rowan Fraser, Country Representative, GGGI Nepal said, “All the operators we met with were confident that for them, electric is the future. These were operators who already run electric buses, and they all were planning to buy more, some had already placed contracts to expand their electric bus fleets. Such field-tested confidence is extremely good to see.”