NIU SCOOTERS Going Electric with TARUN BAJRACHARYA
The popularity of electric scooters shot up post the fuel crisis that hit Nepal two years ago. The crisis helped embellish the importance of alternative energy into the minds of people, especially in terms of finding one for a mode of transportation. But once the fuel crisis dissipated, the newfound interest for electric scooters petered out too. Following a hit and run involving an electric scooter, regulations pertaining to the requirement of a driver’s license for electric scooters were implemented; this too played a role in the dwindling popularity of scooters. Inadequately registered brands of electric scooters further put the sector in negative light.
And it looked like the slow spiraling demise of electric scooters was inevitable. However, NIU Scooters look to be bringing in a beacon of hope.
Unlike most electric scooters that look like a shoddy embodiment of a half assed scooter, NIU’s aesthetics put the snazziest of scooters to shame. The futuristic design language coupled with the badge of a smart scooter definitely puts it in the running as a potential success.
We had a chance to talk with Tarun Bajracharya of Evolution Trading Pvt. Ltd., Co-owner of Level 3 about NIU Scooters in Nepal.
Electric scooters did take off in the Nepalese market a few years ago, but it came crashing back down again. What would you say led to this, how have things changed now?
When the electric scooter market was initiated, there was a lot of stigma around it because people were unaware of the brand and the whole concept was new. Yet, somehow people wanted to try it out and when they did it was obvious that those scooters were lacking in some aspects but or maybe it didn’t favor the Nepali market.
Tell us about NIU and your smart electric scooters.
Well, NIU is a Chinese brand and it takes five hours for a full battery charge and the bike can go 100km without another charge. At 2500rmb, the Panasonic lithium-ion battery is the most expensive part of the bike. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, more environmentally friendly, and last longer. Niu has a proprietary, app for Android and iPhone. This app can show you the location of your bike via GPS, show your last route (if you haven’t shut the bike off yet), display how much battery life you have left and how far that will take you but not accounting for driving style, so it is not an exact figure, link you with repair shops, and send you notifications when the battery is removed or the wheels move.
Tell us about the new regulations regarding electric scooters, and how NIU is working around and with it.
Transport authorities said the decision was taken after it was found that many distributors had been promoting electric scooters with false information that no registration, driving license or helmet is necessary for using them. Although, the rules were also there before but maybe some people misunderstood that license was required. So, all in all it is a good decision made by the government
Describe the scope and potential for electric motor vehicles in Nepal.
The market seems to be growing and the shortage of fuel is not something that will go away very soon. Because we have been exploiting the resources. For a better future too it is high time that we shift towards electric vehicles. Because of the environmental issues even top brands are diversifying their product range to electric vehicles.
WORDS:SHREYA SANGROULA | PHOTO:PRITAM CHHETRI