Complete electrification of e-commerce delivery fleets possible today: Flipkart Group x WBCSD report

In a case study documenting Flipkart’s electric mobility journey, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development highlights the steps and possibilities for other e-commerce companies to adopt and scale electric mobility, stressing the commercial and technical viability of complete electrification.

electric mobility

“The good news is that e-commerce companies are already leading the electric vehicle (EV) transition in India,” says a new report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which reveals that 100% electrification of e-commerce delivery fleets is possible in the country.

This report — ‘Advancing electrification of e-commerce deliveries in India – A Flipkart case study’ — recognizes Flipkart Group as an electric mobility trendsetter in India, and is an important step forward in consolidating knowledge on the best ways for e-commerce companies to adopt and scale electric mobility today.

electric mobility

On August 25, 2020, Flipkart announced its commitment to transition to 100% adoption of electric vehicles by 2030, joining The Climate Group’s global electric mobility initiative, EV100.
The Flipkart Group’s drive towards electric mobility began with pilots in Indian cities in 2017, and is now a major sustainability initiative. Flipkart is the first e-commerce organization in India to introduce electric mobility for deliveries at scale, and also the first e-commerce marketplace in India to join The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, demonstrating that electrification of fleets is technically and commercially viable.

As e-commerce is expected to contribute to 3.5% of the country’s GDP by 2030, the sector will play a critical role in India’s ambition to transition to a more sustainable economy. While e-commerce, with its massive delivery vehicle deployment calls for cleaner mobility pathways, the report authors estimate that a 100% adoption of EVs in e-commerce deliveries in India by 2030 could avoid 44% of the total CO2 emissions caused by conventional vehicles and reduce consumption of 30 billion liters of fossil fuels per year.

Some of the key lessons learned from Flipkart’s EV adoption experience are summarized below:

  • E-commerce companies need to signal demand and work in close collaboration with Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop the right-sized EVs for delivery use cases.
  • Vendor-owned fleets (vis-à-vis driver-owned vehicles) support early EV adoption, but they need to be integrated in an e-commerce firm’s highly optimized delivery ecosystem. Improved access to capital and financing is also required for vendors to scale up.
  • A vendor-managed charging infrastructure model will distribute the risk among parties who are best positioned to mitigate them and suit the requirements of e-commerce companies.
  • Driver partner adoption can be best influenced by improving awareness, income, and by providing an efficient and accessible charging network

The report adds that, by committing to the Climate Group’s EV100 commitment, Flipkart has reinforced that it has the willingness, ability and scale to guide India’s transition to sustainable e-commerce deliveries. In Flipkart’s electrification journey, bringing together key stakeholders of the EV ecosystem has been key to accelerating progress and increasing adoption. These impact positive alliances will be crucial in achieving new milestones in electric mobility for e-commerce uses in the coming years.

Read the full report – ‘Advancing electrification of e-commerce deliveries in India – A Flipkart case study’ – here:

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