Home » Here’s What EV Charging Looks Like In One Of The World’s Least Developed Countries

Here’s What EV Charging Looks Like In One Of The World’s Least Developed Countries

Nepal Charging Ts
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EV chargers in the U.S. are typically fairly uniform in design. You get a big flat bit of concrete, throw in some chargers and lines for the parking bays, and you’re done. In Nepal, which at least for the time being is categorized by the U.N. a “Least Developed Country,” the transport infrastructure is built a little differently.

Marc Gatland is a member of the Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia. He recently found himself on a trip through Nepal, and found the journey enlightening as an EV enthusiast. He was kind enough to share some photos from his travels with The Autopian. They give us a look at what it’s like to charge an EV in a completely different part of the world.

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The most striking image Marc sent me was of the Indrayani EV Charging Station in Galchi. Located along the Trishuli River, it’s a DC fast charging station. It’s capable of delivering charge rates of up to 40 kW via its GBT connector. What really caught my eye was the construction, however. It’s a rudimentary concrete shack with a corrugated steel roof. It sits on a dirt road, with a single lead for customers to hook up to their EVs.

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We’re so used to prim and proper roads in the West. Yet, in many parts of the world, a dirt road like this is nothing unusual. Drivers in Nepal wouldn’t think twice of driving down this road in a regular hatchback. Similarly, this kind of utility hookup isn’t unusual. The solitary EV charger on this site is getting its feed directly from a power line strung on wooden poles. It’s a little messy and ad-hoc, but it works.

In any case, this visual of this ramshackle charging outpost got me wondering. What is the situation for EVs really like in Nepal?

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Not every EV charging station in Nepal is built on a dirt road.
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Marc noted the MG ZS is a particularly popular option in the country, and that he also spotted Hyundai and Omoda EVs.

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Tata does a good trade in Nepal. Advertising ground clearance makes sense there, given rough dirt roads are common in many areas.
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A rather subtle charger, out of the way.
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It’s a bit of a gimmick ad,” says Marc. “The charging station has a lead coming out of it and connecting to the “car” in the ad.” The charger is functional—you simply unplug the fake car and plug in your own.

As covered by the Kathmandu Post, Nepal is currently seeing a surge in EV sales of late. In turn, the country needs chargers to support those vehicles with hundreds rolled out thus far. CCS2 connectors dominate, though Chinese-style GBT pop up here and there, too.

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Many of the country’s EV charging stations are similar to their European and American counterparts. They feature tidy parking areas, good lighting, and large metal boxes full of charging hardware, usually of Chinese manufacture. DC fast charging is readily available at many sites, with rates of 60 kW or 120 kW fairly typical. This video from CarHaru is a great example:

Ev Charging Experience At Pokhara! Kasto Cha Pokhara Ko Nea Ev Charging Station 1 4 Screenshot

Ev Charging Experience At Pokhara! Kasto Cha Pokhara Ko Nea Ev Charging Station 3 1 Screenshot

At the same time, not every charging point is so well appointed. Many eschew asphalt or paving and simply have a small dirt lot for drivers to pull up and charge. The charging equipment itself is simply installed on a concrete riser and given a small awning for weather protection.

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Of course, charging in a dirt lot can be problematic in wet weather, of course, if the ground turns soft. At least one fast charger site on Plugshare warns users that this can be a problem, with photos showing a number of small EVs trapped in the mire. This video from Electric Drives Nepal is also a good example of a typical dirt lot charging station.

Tiago Ev Range Test In Nepal 0 11 Screenshot

These sites highlight a boon that EV chargers have over gasoline refueling infrastructure. Gas pumps come with lots of hassle. You need a big fuel tank and regular deliveries, and the smell, the flammability, and the space requirements are all prohibitive. In contrast, though, installing an EV charger is simple and takes up very little space indeed. As seen in these videos from Nepal, it’s a cinch to install one on a small lot on the side of the road, or behind a hotel or restaurant. It’s possible to dot EV chargers all over the place, wherever there’s a decent electrical feed.

In any case, I found these shots of Nepal’s EV infrastructure inspiring. It makes me want to take a compact EV on a ridiculous road trip up some dodgy mountain road. Doesn’t that sound like an adventure?

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Image credits: Marc Gatland, Electric Drives Nepal via YouTube screenshot, CarHaru via YouTube screenshot

 

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M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
12 days ago

Be kinda funny to see people ICEing charging spots with tuk-tuks in other parts of the world.

Phuzz
Phuzz
12 days ago

I’d not thought before about the relative difficulties of building a fuel station vs an electric charger (because I live in a country that already has plenty of petrol stations), but if you don’t have much existing infrastructure, then electric chargers must be much easier.

Last edited 12 days ago by Phuzz
M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
12 days ago
Reply to  Phuzz

Yeah, you don’t have to worry about fuel tanks, pumps, etc.

CivoLee
CivoLee
12 days ago

“Drivers in Nepal wouldn’t think twice of driving down this road in a regular hatchback.”

Doesn’t surprise me at all. Remember, in developing countries they haul lumber on motorbikes.

Der Foo
Der Foo
13 days ago

Someone should look into the up-time for these under developed country chargers and challenge Electrify America to at least be that reliable.

Addlightness
Addlightness
13 days ago

Looks not that different from DC chargers in rural parts of the west, like this one I used in Nevada last year: https://www.plugshare.com/location/223842

Last edited 13 days ago by Addlightness
Greg
Greg
13 days ago

I’ve often wondered about how this is handled. These look to run the gambit between safe and fine to “I’ll see how far this tank lasts”

Good article.

Last edited 13 days ago by Greg
Jj
Jj
13 days ago

That second charger with the covered bay for charging – no curb cut? Just have to drive right into the curb to get in there?

Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
13 days ago

Naive first-world q here, but in less developed parts of the world, are EVs used as portable batteries where electricity is not consistently available?

Aaron
Aaron
13 days ago

Many developing/underdeveloped nations have shockingly good 5G speeds compared to North America and Western Europe because they effectively skipped the landline step and built from the ground up to prioritize wireless. I’d assume we may see the same for EVs.

And then you consider the rapid urbanization and increasing density of many of these developing nations! If everyone lives in an area that’s more dense that NYC, they don’t need 350+ mile range cars to suit their daily needs. There’s less need to eat up valuable urban space with gas stations.

Last edited 13 days ago by Aaron
CivoLee
CivoLee
12 days ago
Reply to  Aaron

The tech level of developing countries in the modern world is highly mixed. They have high speed internet via mobile devices alongside wide swaths of the population lacking indoor plumbing, and in some countries if you go out far enough, you can find tribes of hunter-gatherers.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
13 days ago

Some of us in the West are still pretty familiar with dirt roads – at least those of us in rural America.

Sklooner
Sklooner
13 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

Or Canada

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
13 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

Not just the west. Can find plenty in OH and MI. And they are just fine (sometimes fun actually).

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
13 days ago

I meant “West” in the same way as the author. I am in rural MI. *Some* of them are fine, and some are like the Ho Chi Minh Trail *after* the B-52s have had a go at them.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
13 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

I once took a “shortcut” down a seasonal road up near Traverse City. I’ve been on mountain bike trails that were less sketchy. It was awesome.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
13 days ago

In any case, I found these shots of Nepal’s EV infrastructure inspiring. It makes me want to take a compact EV on a ridiculous road trip up some dodgy mountain road. Doesn’t that sound like an adventure?

I don’t see a /s, Where is the /s, please tell me this is a /s

10001010
10001010
13 days ago

Ewan and Charlie did this a few years ago with some early EV Harleys and prototype Rivians as support vehicles.

https://www.longwayup.com/

Mike Dris
Mike Dris
13 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I highly recommend watching this. The Harleys and Rivians are pre-production with many kinks to work out. They are constantly dealing with range anxiety and often come up with quick fixes to keep things going.

It is also a good travel show as they are traveling from the tip of South America to LA.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
12 days ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Yes, adventures are fun, but this is just masochistic.

Njd
Njd
13 days ago

I hadn’t thought about EVs in Nepal at all but the huge amount of hydropower they generate must mean that electricity is really cheap.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
13 days ago

Yeah, that Indrayani station looks a bit ramshackle, but it still has one thing I never see in the US – weather protection. Unless a charger is in a parking garage, there is no effort to shield people from rain.

Ben
Ben
13 days ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

That was my first thought as well. May not look like much, but it has a roof. US charging companies take note!

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
12 days ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Yeah, that whole water vs. electricity thing is unnerving. My office offers L1 plugs but I don’t like to use them on a rainy day. I’ve even had people tell me I shouldn’t take my Bolt through a car wash, but that’s just silly.

Alexk98
Alexk98
13 days ago

Really neat article and insights!

It seems like EVs make a lot more sense in less developed nations than people would think, not only for the ease of install as mentioned, which admittedly I had never considered, but countries having rougher roads keeps average speed down, so the relatively poor highway range of an EV is much less of an issue. Throw in much more lax safety and import regulations, and the fact that the gas quality in some of these countries is so poor, that cheap Chinese EVs make extremely compelling options.

Njd
Njd
13 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

Nepal also has tons of hydropower, which I imagine makes the economics of charging vs buying gas worthwhile.

Alexk98
Alexk98
13 days ago
Reply to  Njd

That makes a lot of sense! I know mountainous regions tend to have a harder time with gas infrastructure due to logistics, and I know even in the US gas stations aren’t a cheap installation.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
13 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

That’s the biggest beef I have with protectionism here. Sure we can tariff the hell out of any potential Chinese EV entrant, most countries have no domestic auto manufacturing industries and will gladly welcome inexpensive EVs.

Turning our market into a walled garden will mean losing the rest of the world to other manufacturers. No matter how great we think our market is, we aren’t even #1. There’s a lot more money to be made everywhere else.

Alexk98
Alexk98
13 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

I completely understand that point, but I do understand the cybersecurity and IP issues that come with Chinese EVs. With how connected everything is these days, and how objectively bad the general public (including influential people with security clearances) is with data protection, and Chinese products concerning track record, it seems somewhat fair to want to limit their adoption locally.

Also the Human rights issues with the production of many of those uber cheap EVs are, they likely wouldn’t be legal for import regardless. Also I think people often forget that US/DOT certification processes are EXPENSIVE, and the low end EVs in other countries have negligible safety features at best, and certainly aren’t designed or built to a standard that would make them legal for US import, which makes a significant cost difference.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
13 days ago

I go to Africa for work every year or so, and this reminds me of the few EV charging stations I’ve seen in Angola. All of them were in Luanda, since it is about the only part of the country with people wealthy enough to own an EV, but also the only part of the country with an electrical grid stable enough to support them. Even then, I only saw Level 2 chargers, not DC fast chargers. I’ll have to keep my eyes open next time I’m there to see if things have improved.

Last edited 13 days ago by Squirrelmaster
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