With the growing popularity of electric cars after the fuel crisis caused by the 2015 Blockade, it was only a question of time before someone opened a maintenance centre just for battery-operated vehicles in Kathmandu.
There are now over 350 Reva and e2O cars running on Kathmandu roads, so it seemed like the numbers had reached critical mass for Mahindra’s authorised distributor for Nepal, Agni Energy, to establish a dedicated service centre in the Valley.
Agni’s newly built facility in Kunpondol was inaugurated on Tuesday by Nepali Times editor, Kunda Dixit. The spacious service centre provides necessary before and after service for its e2O, eSupro and future electric models from the Mahindra stable. Cars can have pre-delivery inspection to wash, diagnoses, maintenance, charging and spare parts.
“We thought it was the right time for us to open an exclusive service centre as many countries have been announcing deadlines to convert to electric, and India has a target of 2030,” said Cabinet Shrestha of Agni Energy
Agni was ahead of its time when it bought the Reva dealership from Lotus Energy 12 years ago. Then, the government was hesitant to support zero emission vehicles and customers were reluctant to switch from petrol.
However, with continuous lobbying by environmentalists, word of mouth appreciation of the benefits of electric by drivers, the popularity of the sleek, simple and light e2Os grew.
Electric car owners from various professions attending the inauguration on Tuesday said they were happy that the new service centre was being opened. Sudha Basnet, who owns a bright red Reva, said:
As a doctor, we live a very stressful life. So for me, driving this EV is stress-free since the car is easy to drive, clean, can park anywhere and there are no hassles about refuelling.”
Agni Energy’s latest customer for the e2O model is the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) which bought three units. NEA Director Kul Man Ghising will drive one of them to work in Kathmandu.
Despite the growing popularity, the main challenges for electric vehicles still remain the lack of charging stations, no government subsidy, and public reluctance. Nepal has not gone beyond removing customs duty on imports.
Being a price conscious market, Mahindra plans to introduce a cheaper version of e2O Plus for Kathmandu roads with less power, according to Chaitanya Kagalkar, International Operations Manager of Mahindra.