Mahindra Electric has delivered a few test mules of its Treo Zor electric three-wheeler to the e-commerce behemoth’s logistics partners in Japan and Vietnam, a person aware of the development said. Mahindra has also won the largest order for EVs from Amazon India, estimated to be around 1,000 units, the person added.
ET had reported in December last year that Amazon India was close to finalising orders from Mahindra Electric, Kinetic Green, Altigreen, Gayam Motor Works and E-trio. The e-commerce marketplace had also held discussions to invest in various manufacturers.
Mahindra Electric has already delivered 300 units of Treo Zor to domestic e-commerce logistics providers, as well as Amazon, and has an order book for a further 800 units which it will deliver by April, said Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Babu.
“Our EVs are being deployed for deliveries of all major e-commerce providers including Amazon, Flipkart, Jio Mart and BigBasket as they are a perfect fit for last- and first-mile connectivity,” Babu said, without commenting on the specifics of the Amazon India order.
But he confirmed that the company has shipped a few units of Treo Zor to logistics partners of Amazon in other Asian markets, and that it was also seeing demand from a UK county for its passenger and cargo electric three-wheelers.
Amazon, which has committed to a fleet of 10,000 EVs in India by 2025, doesn’t purchase these vehicles on its own but helps its logistics providers to buy and operate these vehicles on its behalf. Its fleet electrification plans in India are part of a larger global strategy to use sustainable technologies and mobility. The company, as part of its climate pledge, has said that it will have 100,000 EVs in its global fleet by 2030, and become carbon neutral by 2040.
“We have been working with several Indian OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to build a fleet of vehicles that ensure sustainable and safe deliveries of customer orders and will continue to explore opportunities with OEMs to expand our fleet,” an Amazon spokesperson said, without disclosing details of its deal with Mahindra Electric.
Amazon has already made a strategic investment in Michigan-based EV maker Rivian last year, unveiling the electric van created in partnership with the company, and expects to deploy about 10,000 vehicles by 2022.
EV Logistics Market
Babu estimates that the market for EVs in the e-commerce logistics sector alone can grow to 10,000 units in the next one year, as players like Amazon and Flipkart have already committed to electrify a large portion of their fleets in the next few years. “There is a lot of interest from e-commerce companies for last-mile connectivity. This half tonne three-wheeler is very viable for the fleet operator in terms of pricing and operating cost,” Babu said.
The e-commerce majors are looking at EVs that can carry a payload of 500-600 kg, have a range of about 150 km and a top speed of around 50 km per hour.
Like Amazon, Walmart-owned rival Flipkart too has committed to electrifying its entire fleet of delivery vehicles by 2030 and said it would induct EVs into its fleet in phases as well as install charging networks at the premises of 1,400 supply chain partners.
Companies are looking to replace diesel-powered commercial vehicles due to rising diesel costs, lower operating and maintenance cost of EVs and introduction of more stringent emissions norms that are driving up the cost of gas-powered vehicles.
Moreover, the small size of batteries in two and three-wheelers makes it possible to quickly charge these vehicles on regular plugs, without the requirement for expensive fast chargers that are required to charge electric passenger vehicles.