Firms like Amazon, Uber commit to EVs in India

On January 20, Amazon India announced plans to add 10,000 electric vehicles (EVs) to its fleet of delivery vehicles by 2025

January 20, 2020

Amazon said that it had piloted EVs in several cities across India in 2019, and is now expanding across the country

The pilot purportedly created learnings that helped Amazon create scalable and long-term EV variants for this purpose

Other large-scale adopters of EVs include e-commerce giant Flipkart and ride-hailing platforms like Ola and Uber

India’s FAME-II initiative has encouraged the creation of an ecosystem for EVs and hybrids, with lucrative incentives

E-commerce giant Amazon India became the latest corporation to pledge its commitment to electric vehicles (EVs) in the country when it announced a plan to add 10,000 EVs to its fleet of delivery vehicles by 2025, according to a media report on January 20, citing an official statement. The company said that it had piloted EVs in several cities across India in 2019, and is now expanding across the country. The pilot purportedly created learnings that have helped Amazon create scalable and long-term EV variants for this purpose. The announcement came just days after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced an investment of US$1 billion to digitise small and medium businesses, and the creation of a million jobs in India by 2025. 

Last June, Amazon’s rival Flipkart had committed to replacing 40 per cent of its delivery vans with EVs by March 2020, becoming the first e-commerce platform in India to introduce electric mobility for deliveries at scale. For smooth operations, Flipkart had also set up the necessary charging infrastructure at its hubs. The company claimed that this would help reduce its carbon emissions by over 50 per cent. In 2018, ride-hailing app Ola announced “Mission: Electric” as a platform to bring 1 million Electric Vehicles on the road by 2021. The company is poised to become one of the largest EV fleet operators in the world. Another ride-hailing app, Uber, has also partnered with SUN Mobility and Mahindra to introduce e-autos and e-vehicles respectively, over the past few years.

This push by corporations to adopt electric vehicles is not surprising, as the Indian Government has budgeted US$1.4 billion to boost electric mobility in the country. This outlay is spread over three years as part of the 2nd phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric (and) Hybrid Vehicles (FAME), which was established to encourage the creation of an ecosystem for EVs and hybrids. These initiatives include localized production across the entire value chain, slashing GST rates on batteries used in EVs, and lowering custom duties on EVs from 15-30 per cent to 10-15 per cent. Industry leaders are enthusiastic about this development, as it will lead to better standardization, faster scaling, and will have the maximum impact on lowering pollution to drive change.

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