Ecommerce firms drive delivery partners up the wall over electric vehicles

Online retailers such as Amazon India, as part of their climate goals, pushed their delivery partners to include more electric vehicles in their fleets. But without adequate incentives, and moves such as lower payouts for EVs, delivery firms are questioning the viability of electric vehicles

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Aditi Shrivastava

June 02, 2021

8 Min Read

Cut through the loud cheers that accompany announcements of climate commitments by ecommerce companies and you will hear murmurs of discontent. Their delivery partners that embraced electric mobility as part of those commitments now say they are being disincentivized for going green.

The murmurs began when Amazon India in February slashed its payouts for electric auto cargo vehicles by 20% citing lower operating costs. For delivery partners at other ecommerce retailers, too, there’s little by way of incentives for upgrading their fleets with electric vehicles, according to multiple logistics companies The CapTable spoke with.

Both Amazon India and Flipkart have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions by having more electric vehicles in their fleets. In January last year, Jeff Bezos hopped on to an electric cargo three-wheeler in Delhi as Amazon India committed to include 10,000 EVs in its delivery fleet by 2025. Flipkart has committed to deploying 25,000 electric vehicles by 2030.

In reality, online retailers don’t buy the electric vehicles themselves, leaving the purchasing to logistics companies such as Porter, Lightning Logistics, Solar EV, Zypp Electric and LoadExx. Ecommerce companies then rent or lease the EVs from the delivery firms for their in-house fleets, as they typically do with any other delivery vehicle.

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