E-commerce marketplace Flipkart will introduce electric vehicles for its last-mile deliveries, the Bangalore-based company said in a statement. The deployment will happen in a phased manner.
Flipkart aims to replace nearly 40% of its existing last mile fleet of delivery vans with electric vehicles by March 2020, starting with deploying about 160 electric vans across cities by the end of 2019.
The Walmart-owned company said it will work with electric vehicle manufacturers to design vehicles suitable for e-commerce deliveries.
“Our vision is to replace a significant portion of our last-mile delivery with EVs in the coming years and also contribute towards clean and sustainable mobility. Our team is working with local ecosystem partners to help them co-design concepts for electric vehicles best suited for the growing e-commerce industry,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Group CEO, Flipkart, said.
Flipkart has been conducting pilots for EV deployment in its supply chain over the last 6 months, it said. The company is in the process of setting up necessary charging infrastructure at its hubs. Currently, Flipkart has deployed 8 electronic vehicles in Hyderabad, 10 in New Delhi and 30 e-bikes in Bangalore.
“We see tremendous growth opportunity in electric freight mobility from a greener supply chain perspective, which will play a key role in building a robust supply chain for the future. These efforts will help us meaningfully contribute towards electric mobility by reducing our dependence on conventional power sources, while bringing cost efficiencies for the business,” said Amitesh Jha, senior vice-president, Ekart and marketplace at Flipkart.
This move comes at a time when the Indian government is aggressively pushing for a transition from fossil-fuel vehicles to electric vehicles. The government had announced a plan to convert India into a 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030, though uncertainties about the deadline remains. It recently announced a plan to transform all two-wheelers with engine capacities of less than 150cc to electric from 2025 onwards.
Recently, the government approved a $1.4 billion scheme to subsidise sales of electric and hybrid vehicles as it looks to control pollution and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The program, named Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME), will offer subsidies based on the battery capacity of the vehicle, ranging from buses and cars to three-wheelers and motorbikes. The incentives would be applicable only on vehicles costing less than Rs 15 lakh.
According to a recent report by Reuters, India may direct online taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola to convert 40% of their fleet to electric vehicles by April 2026.