Nepal has readily adopted to the transformation of fuel vehicles to electric vehicles since the past few years. Customers have started to realize the potential of electric vehicles due to their low operating cost as well as sustainable applications. But it seems that there is still an anxiety that resides in the heart of the customers regarding the range and applicability of EVs for travel and adventure. This is why we challenged ourselves to drive the first electric pickup of Nepal, JAC T8 EV by thee GO to one of the most challenging roads of Nepal and set a destination of Lo- Manthang, the ancient walled city in Upper Mustang.
We started this journey from thee GO’s head office in Nagpokhari, Kathmandu. The bags were packed along with a 7KW charger that would help us charge the vehicle in this journey. At 7 in the morning, five of us left Kathmandu and headed for the first night in Beni with 100% charge in the vehicle. While on road, we stopped in Kurintar for a quick lunch and topped up the battery at thee GO’s Chargepoint located there. After about 30 minutes of charging the battery was fat 98% and we resumed our journey. After a total travel 181 km journey from Kurnitar, we reached Hotel Yeti in Beni with the consumption of just 71% battery charge. We plugged in our 7KW charger to charge the vehicle overnight and called it a night.
The next morning, we were greeted by the beautiful city of Beni in the banks of Kali Gandaki river. Our vehicle was charged overnight and the battery was at 98% SOC so we had a quick lunch and headed for the next destination i.e. Muktinath at a distance of about 102 Km. As we headed for our journey, we were greeted by a mix of uphill, pitched and off road conditions. The roads leading to and from Rupse waterfall were specially challenging off roads but the 205mm of travel backed by the monstrous 150 KW motor peak power made it an easy task for JAC T8 EV and the drive was amazingly good and comfortable through the tough terrains. We took a quick break in Jomsom to stretch out and continued our journey to Muktinath. Finally, we reached Hotel Grand Shambala in Muktinath at an altitude of 3710 metres in the evening with 22% SOC still remaining in the vehicle. The weather was cold at around -3 degree Celsius, so we decided to stay quickly connect the vehicle to the charger and head inside for our dinner and call it a night.
On the third day of our trip, we were greeted by snow covered mountains surrounding us in Muktinath. We had planned to go to Muktinath temple in the morning so we did exactly that and afterwards had a quick breakfast in a local restaurant. When we returned to check the vehicle, it was at 96% SOC and good to go. So, we packed up our bags, put on some warm clothes and headed towards the adventure to Lo Manthang.
As soon as we crossed Kagbeni, we were mesmerized by the sight of rocky hills and roadways. The roads were challenging and completely off road as soon as we entered Upper Mustang. We stopped for lunch at Ghiling, a small village in Upper Mustang in a local restaurant with local food that tasted great. After lunch, we continued on our journey which was mostly uphill and rocky roads with views of mountains surrounding us. After around 100 Km of drive, we finally reached Lo Manthang, the ancient walled city in Upper Mustang at an altitude of 3840 metres with a consumption of 58% SOC. We were filled with joy that we made it on an EV without any issues at all. We took this opportunity to stroll around through the city for a bit and then headed to Hotel Mandala with 38% SOC still remaining. The local people were amazed to see an EV travel to their place and so were other travelers staying in the same hotel. People had lots of questions regarding our journey and we were glad to tell our amazing story.
The next morning, we headed back to Kathmandu with our hearts filled with joy and tons of memories. We were honored that we were able to make this journey and become the team who drove the first EV to Lo Manthang and it was only possible with the help of thee GO. thee GO’s mission of net carbon emission initiated this entire project of zero emission travel through public vehicles and now through JAC T8 EV carrying on the same legacy as a multi utility pickup capable of both commercial utility as well as an adventure travel vehicle. With 150 KW of motor pickup power supported by 65.3 KWh LiFePO4 battery, it was comfortable to take this vehicle to any terrain without worrying about the power as well as the range capability. Additionally, the 205 mm of ground clearance helped in the rocky off roads and I do not remember any instance throughout the 1000 km journey where the ground clearance was not enough. The regeneration was amazing while driving downhill and assisted the vehicle to top up the excess amount of battery drained while climbing the hills. To summarize, JAC T8 EV by thee GO is a beast hungry for off road terrains and this journey to Lo Manthang was only a beginning of thee GO’s mission to promote sustainable tourism and show the true potential of electric vehicles.