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Category: BijuliPower (Electric-Vehicle)

BijuliPower (Electric-Vehicle)

Safa-tempo-The past, present & the future of EV industry of Nepal!

Once upon a time, Nepal had the leading zero carbon emission public electric-vehicle industry. Yes, that’s a fairy tale now because the amount of carbon emissions by vehicles in Nepal doesn’t tell us we are even near contributing to the zero carbon emission. Safa-tempo started in the mid-1990s and was booming and blooming. It was locally manufactured but not anymore which shows how economical it would have been. At the time when safa-tempo was introduced, it required two sets of 12 acid- batteries which needed to be imported from California. This was one of the drawbacks along with harsh government policies in support of diesel micro-buses that were imported at that time. Once a world-leading commercial electric vehicle, safa-tempo was facing its downfall.

According to the safa-tempo association, there are a total of 714 safa-tempos in the valley right now. Some safa-tempos are still running and some are in the garage rusting. Due to government regulations, safa-tempo owners are currently facing an unanticipated crisis where they are required to pay eight years of income tax at once and if seen running without the proper renewed document then they are being fined for that too. The government denied providing any discounts on the taxes. In addition to that, custom duty was increased from 10 to 40 percent and the excise duty was fixed at the highest rate i.e. 80 percent during the budget for the Fiscal Year 2077/78. But recently, after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Cabinet decided to reduce the taxes by between 25% to 80% depending on the capacity of the vehicles, although the VAT and excise tax have been retained. Despite his own government’s commitment two years ago to make 20% of vehicles electric-powered by 2020, in his annual budget speech in May, Khatiwada increased the excise tax of only 10% on battery cars to 40%-60%, and another 60% customs duty. These fluctuations and lack of support from government policies have discouraged a lot of micro-entrepreneurs of the electric vehicle industry.

Present might seem difficult for safa-tempos but there is a possibility that it can turn around the current situation into a positive one in the near future. Aeloi as a digital token loan service provider is trying to coordinate with the safa-tempo association helping safa tempo drivers have easy access to finance via digital token, build their capacity and help build multiple models of income. More companies like us and the government itself must invest in electric vehicles like safa-tempo. Electric vehicle industry like safa-tempo needs supports from the government more than ever now just to exist. Once we were able to manufacture safa-tempo so why not do it again! Why not manufacture the batteries locally which are required to run the safa-tempo? Why not make once a pioneering country in the commercial public electric vehicle industry, a pioneer again?

BijuliPower (Electric-Vehicle)

Safa-Tempo Drivers in Crisis

COVID-19/Lockdown Impact

The lockdown imposed in Nepal due to COVID-19 is affecting everyone’s livelihoods. The daily-wage workers are the ones most affected by this lockdown. We interviewed some of the daily wage workers we work with through our product BijuliPower. It has been over 80 days now since the lockdown was imposed with a strict rule of social distancing and complete stop on public transportation. This impacted our safa tempo drivers adversely with no means of income. They don’t have any income sources to pay their loans, rather they are struggling to survive in Kathmandu with basic food supply and rent issues, as many are from areas outside of the Kathmandu Valley.

Some women drivers were able to go back to their villages which saved them a lot of money. Unfortunately, some couldn’t go back due to the sudden nature of the lockdown. One safa tempo driver that went back home felt like she didn’t fit in with the village lifestyle as she is used to living in the city. When they decided to come back to the city, her landlord wouldn’t allow her due to worries about covid transmission. This is sad for the safa tempo driver but it’s also a measure of precaution that the landlord had to take.

As we talked more, they shared with us their concern for their child’s education as everything is now online but without a daily wage, she couldn’t afford the internet fees. With so many urgent priorities, they don’t want to have to worry about education, but this is still causing a lot of stress. Regarding their business in the safa tempo industry, most women were hesitant and anxious because so far the public transportation business seems risky even once the lockdown lifts.

One woman driver shared she had to take responsibilities for 3 families with zero savings and solely with the income from safa tempo. Her husband has three wives including her and he is currently jobless. Right now, their sole income source is gone. This is the reason why this safa tempo driver says she would hesitate to take a future loan for upgrading the battery of her tempo. An increase in the Electric Vehicle taxes by the Nepal government has the safa tempo drivers worried about their future in this industry also.

To help these women in crisis we launched a crowd funding campaign for 55 families of safa tempo drivers who were struggling for basic food supplies. We successfully surpassed the targeted number of families and have helped 196 families with 301 food packages distributed so far. We hope to help these families in this crucial situation brought by COVID-19.

BijuliPower (Electric-Vehicle)

BijuliPower launch in collaboration with Woman Lead Nepal at OWN IT Nepal 2020

BijuliPower team with Hima Bista, the executive director of Woman Lead Nepal

Our BijuliPower campaign was successfully launched at the third iteration of OWN IT conference of Woman Lead Nepal on February 29, 2020. Through our transportation partnership with the conference, we had a great kick start to BijuliPower which provides private hire services for events like this. As OWN It conference is there to fill the gaps between the female leaders and the aspiring young women leaders, there wouldn’t have been any better summit than this for us because we believe in uplifting women leaders and microentrepreneurs like our Safa Tempo women drivers.

We were overwhelmed by the participation of more than 200 young leaders from different fields. The participants included our well-known female leaders like Miss Nepal 2002 and entrepreneur, Malvika Subba. As our campaign focuses on promoting clean and green transportation services she quoted:

“if you use the electric-powered vehicle like Safa Tempo, you will be supporting a clean green environment”

Malvika Subba

Malika Subba with BijuliPower booth at OWN IT conference

Likewise, the executive director of Woman Lead Nepal Hima Bista, herself encouraged our campaign by saying BijuliPower sets an example through the change we’re trying to bring from the grass-root level by empowering women drivers and advocating a clean green environment. Kudos to the team of Woman Lead Nepal on conducting an impactful event like OWN IT conference, we were honoured to be a part of it.

BijuliPower (Electric-Vehicle)

Photos from BijuliPower Launch at OWN IT conference

Thank you to Women LEAD Nepal for hosting a very successful OWN IT conference on 29 February 2020. We were honoured to be there to launch our BijuliPower product that helps events, individuals, and offices hire private safa tempos to provide transportation services. Here are some photos from the event:

BijuliPower (Electric-Vehicle)

GEM is the Transportation Partner for OWN IT Nepal Conference 2020

GEM, through BijuliPower, will be providing clean and green transportation before and after the conference.

On Saturday, February 29, 2020, Women LEAD Nepal will hold OWN IT Nepal, a one-day leadership summit for young women. OWN IT Nepal seeks to bridge the gap between female leaders of the 21st century and the young women who admire them by producing accessible events for young women of all demographics—not just those who can afford to pay their way.Through OWN IT Nepal, we aim to change the narratives around what it means to be a woman in Nepali society, promote and discuss intersectional feminist values, and ultimately to bring together young women who are eager to change Nepal through art, business, journalism, politics, public service and more.The first OWN IT Summit was held at Georgetown University in 2014. 2020 OWN IT would mark the summit’s third iteration in Nepal.We had over 200 young women and men, between the ages of 18 to 26 years, participate in OWN IT Nepal last year. OWN IT Nepal saw the youth come together to celebrate women’s leadership and to learn from current female leaders. This year too, we will have amazing speakers who inspire to change.

Date: Saturday, Feb 29, 2020
Time: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Venue: Ageno: The Hestia, Dhobighat, LalitpurIf you have any queries, please contact ownit@women-lead.org!