Nissan to sell EVs in Bhutan

Autocar India
First Published: 12:57 IST(24/2/2014)
Last Updated: 17:05 IST(24/2/2014)
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Nissan has entered into an agreement with the Royal Government of Bhutan with the shared goal of achieving the nation's eco-friendly vision for the future. The agreement follows talks between the prime minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in Thimphu last year. Ghosn was in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, today to make the announcement alongside the prime minister.

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“The Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to launch this partnership with Nissan as we work to achieve our vision of a leading global EV nation," said Tshering Tobgay. “Nissan's global experience will be invaluable as we make progress towards an electrified national transport infrastructure."

“We will also use the opportunity of supplying the Nissan Leaf and our quick chargers to Bhutan to demonstrate how our electric vehicle business can be scaled in emerging markets that are rich in clean-energy,” said Ghosn.

Bhutan's government is targeting EVs as a key strategy to achieve its goal of becoming a zero emissions nation. It envisages Thimphu as a “clean-electric" city in which transportation for its more than 100,000 citizens is powered by clean energy. Bhutan generates sufficient hydro-electricity that clean energy is the country's major export, but it must import fossil fuels to run its current vehicle fleet. Bhutan is seeking to reduce its oil imports significantly.

As a first step in the cooperation Nissan will deliver its Leafs for use in the government fleet, and as taxis, as well as demonstration units for the national rollout of EVs. Quick chargers will also be supplied to implement the government's plan for infrastructure covering the entire Himalayan nation. Feasibility studies for further technical cooperation are included in the details of the agreements.

The Royal Government of Bhutan will study implementation of an exemption from the green tax, sales tax and custom duty for EVs as well as a carbon credit scheme where the sale of EVs will earn credits that can be traded for tax exemptions for imported internal combustion engine-powered (ICE) vehicles.

The Leaf, the world's first mass-produced zero emissions vehicle, is the best-selling EV in history with a 45 percent global market share of electric vehicles. In 2014, Nissan will market an all-electric light commercial vehicle, the e-NV200, in Europe and Japan.

Nissan sets up national sales company in Bhutan

Nissan has appointed Thunder Motors as its national sales company in Bhutan. As Nissan's local business partner, Thunder Motors will be responsible for imports, distribution and aftersales support of Nissan vehicles in the Kingdom.

The agreement was reached today with immediate effect, in conjunction with the announcement of the non-binding MOU signed between RGOB and Nissan to support Bhutan's ambition to become a zero emission nation.

Thunder Motors, founded in 2011, is a local R&D firm focused on designing electric vehicles for Bhutan and has experience with the conversion of EVs to suit the Kingdom's driving conditions. Nissan and Thunder Motors will undertake a joint technical feasibility studies to support the development of localised EVs in the Himalayan Kingdom.

“Bhutan has a bold national EV ambition," said Andy Palmer, chief planning officer and executive vice president for Zero Emission vehicle planning and strategy, Nissan Motor Corporation. “Working together with Thunder Motors as our local partner, we are delighted to supply Nissan Leafs to help the country build its future vision of an electrified national transport infrastructure."


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