Commercial manufacturing of safa tempos, the electric 3-wheeler battery-operated vehicles, began in the year 1996, when Nepal Electric Vehicle Company, a private company was established. Making of safa tempos increased dramatically when the government announced to ban the operation of diesel-operated 3-wheelers from the valley of Kathmandu, as they caused a lot of air pollution in the area. In fact, a large number of these diesel-operated 3-wheelers were transformed into the safa tempos.
After a decade, the amount of safa tempos that were running on the Kathmandu streets exceeded 600, and the number continues to increase. While most of the safa tempos are a means of public transportation in Kathmandu, a number of them are operated as maintenance vehicles, office vehicles, waste collection vehicles as well as tourism vehicles. Ministries, donor organizations, diplomatic organizations, municipalities, public organizations, private organizations and media organizations also use safa tempos widely in Nepal.
A large number of safa tempos ferry the commuters with the valley of Kathmandu. Each safa tempo is said to travel 100-120 kms per day, and consumes 2 sets of batteries. One set of battery contains 12 6-volt deep-cycle lead acid batteries, and have a full charging capacity of 184 ampere hours. When full charged, these batteries show 77-79 volts then get discharged to 72 during operation. After completing 50-60 kms by the first set of batteries, the safa tempo returns back to the charging station where it is loaded with another set of battery, thus making it ready to operate for another 50-60 kms.
Safa tempos are providing a dependable and a cheap mode of transport for the people of the Kathmandu valley. On an average, around 100,000 people travel through safa tempos daily. For this size of a city, Kathmandu probably uses the biggest electric vehicles fleet as a means of public transport in terms of other ratio with other petrol or diesel operated vehicles.