Online shipping to go electric: Flipkart sets the new decade's EV target; relations with Hero, others with Mahindra

As the nation is heading steadily towards the introduction of electric vehicles, India's e-commerce operators are turning a new leaf with regard to their delivery fleet. 

Flipkart, now owned by Walmart, plans to have more than 25,000 electric vehicles in its distribution network by 2030 while helping to build up charging networks around its delivery centres and offices in India to rapidly monitor the acceptance of EVs. 

Flipkart EV Vehicle

Amazon's arch-rival Flipkart has also begun deploying two-wheeler and three-wheeler EVs in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Pune for deliveries.

On Wednesday, announcing the development, Flipkart said its EV fleet would also include four-wheelers built and manufactured in India, as it has partnered with EV manufacturers such as Hero Electric, Mahindra Electric, and Piaggio. 

The alliance will allow unique vehicles for the first and last-mile delivery fleet of Flipkart in the country to be deployed. In addition, the e-commerce firm will also set service contract specifications, instal charging equipment near its 1,400 supply chain centres, conduct training campaigns, and promote the use of EVs by distribution executives.

"Electric mobility can benefit multiple ecosystem stakeholders, not just in e-commerce but in many other industries. Electrification of the logistics fleet is a key part of Flipkart's larger sustainability goal and in line with our commitment to the Climate Group's EV100 initiative," Amitesh Jha, SVP Ekart and Marketplace, Flipkart, in a company statement. 

Hero Electric's Nyx two-wheeler series with a range of up to 150 km per charge, Treo Zor three-wheeler from Mahindra Electric, and Ape 'E Xtra FX three-wheeler from Piaggio were included in Flipkart's current EV fleet.

The growth came a day after Amazon revealed its alliance with Mahindra Electric for India's EV plans. Amazon announced last year that it will have 10,000 EVs in India in its fleet by 2025. 

With the Distribution Service Partners network of Amazon India, the Treo Zor three-wheeler, which Flipkart has included in its fleet, will be deployed in seven cities, including Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Indore, and Lucknow.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the Indian EV market is likely to rise at a CAGR of about 20 per cent from 2020 to 2025. As the country is looking to become an EV country by 2030, the implementation of 10,000 electric buses and 50,000 electric rickshaws in the coming years was expected last year. 

The plan to introduce the 'Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME India Phase II) scheme for the promotion of electric mobility in the country was also approved by the Union Cabinet in 2019. 

The overall fund requirement for the scheme was Rs 10,000 crore from 2019 to 2022 over three years. 10 Lakhs of electric two-wheelers, 5 lakh three-wheelers, 55,000 four-wheelers, and 7000 buses were expected to be funded through the scheme.

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