Bengaluru-based hyperlocal grocery unicorn BigBasket has announced its plans to turn towards e-mobility for its last-mile delivery operations across metros. The company said it currently has 150 e-vans and 50 e-bikes. It aims to increase this to 1000 vans and 2000 bikes within the next one year.
The company said it has worked with multiple e-van OEMs like Gayam Motors and Euler Motors and certified them for their operations. It is now progressively introducing e-bikes from brands including Hero, Okinawa, Li-on, and Greaves Cotton in its operations.
BigBasket’s Push For EVs
BigBasket said that with the aggressive push for EVs, it has been able to lower its delivery costs. The company said it is also looking to challenge the issues related to the deployment of EVs. Some of these include apprehensions on the part of banks in terms of managing delinquency in loan repayment; availability of charging infrastructure, etc.
The company has made efforts to resolve some of these challenges by providing charging infrastructure, at times even free of cost, to EV transporters.
BigBasket said its operations have expanded to 26 cities in India recording about 2.5 lakh customer orders per day. It claims to have 15 Mn registered customers. The company aims to double its revenue to $1 Bn by March 2020.
K B Nagaraju, chief customer experience officer, BigBasket, said, “Our scale and push for sustainable and renewable energy have resulted in tangible savings and a positive contribution towards the environment. Though there has been a significant push for EVs in the recent budget, there is a need to address the issue of bank finance to OEMs and small transporters and individual buyers as long as the vehicles are used for commercial transportation.”
BigBasket was launched in 2011 by VS Sudhakar, Hari Menon, Vipul Parekh, V S Ramesh and Abhinay Choudhari. The company has raised $1.02 Bn in funding from investors such as Alibaba, Mirae Asset Global Investments, CDC Group etc.
It has recorded close to $33 Mn (INR 230 Cr) in gross monthly sales, with an annual exit rate of around $435.8 Mn (INR 3K Cr) in March 2018.
Collective Efforts Towards E-Mobility
Under ‘Discover Electric Delhi’ pilot, the Delhi Government offered up to 1K electric vehicles for delivery which will be deployed in the city over the next year. Some notable participants include Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, BigBasket, Zomato, UberEats, DOT, Blue Dart Express, Hero Electric, Tata Motors, Tork Motors, and Mahindra Electric, Delta Group, Sun Mobility, BSES Rajdhani Power, and Tata Power among others.
Many companies have started using electric vehicles in their delivery fleets including food delivery unicorns Zomato and Swiggy, ecommerce giants Walmart and Amazon, grocery delivery company Grofers, courier delivery Blue Dart, DHL, spectacles ecommerce startup Lenskart, and fast food brand McDonald’s, among others.
The deployment comes at a time when a switch to the use of electric vehicles is seen as a necessity in helping reduce vehicular emission. Improving the air quality is the need of the hour as the 2018 State of Global Air report revealed that 95% of the world’s population lives in areas with worse air quality than the WHO guidelines for healthy air.
In a bid to ensure greener mobility, the Narendra Modi-led government had taken several steps to promote production and adoption of electric vehicles in India. NITI Aayog had recently proposed that only electric vehicles should be sold in India by 2030. For this, it called for complete electric transition for three-wheelers by 2023 and two-wheelers with an engine capacity less than 150 CC by 2025.