India Charges Ahead with Electric Last-Mile Deliveries
Over 30 e-commerce, vehicle makers, fleet aggregators and charging infrastructure companies aim to go electric as part of Shoonya—a campaign to clean up final-mile deliveries
New Dehli, September 15, 2021:
Milk, paper, and wood are among the many products these days that carry certifications to verify their organic ingredients or sustainable production. But what about the way that these products are shipped?
Today NITI Aayog, the Government of India’s official think tank, with support from RMI and RMI India, launched a campaign to transform final-mile deliveries and eliminate pollution through consumer engagement. Based on the Sanskrit word for zero, Shoonya will create a verification and branding system for electric delivery vehicles and the packages they deliver.
This campaign will allow companies that offer electric deliveries a clear and visible way to differentiate zero-emissions deliveries, as e-commerce explodes in India and globally on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. Urban delivery vehicles account for 10 percent of freight transportation-related CO2 emissions in India, and these emissions are expected to more than double over the next decade.
EVs emit no tailpipe emissions, which can contribute immensely to improved air quality—especially in Indian cities where pollution significantly lowers life expectancies. Even when electricity sector emissions are included, pollution from EVs are still less than gas-powered vehicles, and will only get cleaner as the grid decarbonizes.
While the campaign officially kicks off today, it will be rolled out at scale during the Indian holiday of Diwali in early November, a festival season that like Christmas in the United States, creates a delivery peak. This campaign in urban delivery in India can help kick-start mass adoption of EVs in other sectors as well, by helping to scale EV manufacturing supply chains.
The campaign has already attracted many of India’s transportation industry heavyweights, including e-commerce companies, fleet aggregators, vehicle manufacturers, and logistics companies. Close to 30 companies including Mahindra Electric, Tata Motors, Zomato, Sun Mobility, Lightening Logistics, Big Basket, Bluedart, Swiggy, and Hero Electric, attended the kick-off meeting today to show their support for the campaign. Additional industry players will also be invited to join the initiative.
Under Shoonya, electric delivery vehicles and the packages they carry will be eligible for the Shoonya mark. This brand will be earned through a verification process that consumers can trust and will allow them to be part of the evolution of the transportation sector without buying an EV. An online tracking platform will share the campaign’s impact through data such as vehicle kilometers electrified, carbon savings, criteria pollutant savings, and other benefits from clean delivery vehicles.
“We will promote awareness about health, environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles through the Shoonya campaign,” explains Amitabh Kant, the CEO of NITI Aayog. “I am confident that our dynamic private sector will rise to the challenge of making Shoonya a great success.”
“Competitive economics and available technology support the full electrification of India’s urban delivery fleets on an accelerated timeline, which will create tailwinds for other market segments to follow,” states RMI Managing Director Clay Stranger. “Shoonya is already engaging global e-commerce companies and has the potential to inspire similar campaigns well beyond India.”
For more information on Shoonya, visit https://shoonya.info.
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Notes to editors:
RMI is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization of experts across disciplines working to accelerate the clean energy transition and improve lives. Since our founding in 1982 by Amory Lovins, RMI’s chairman emeritus, we have grown to 300 staff working on four continents with a global reach and reputation. RMI’s mission is to transform the global energy system to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. RMI published India Leaps Ahead: Transformative Mobility Solutions for All with NITI Aayog in May 2017 and works with various other central government agencies like NITI Aayog, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and Department of Heavy Industry to support India’s transition to clean, shared, and connected mobility.
About RMI India
RMI India is an independent think-and-do tank that works with diverse stakeholders. It takes inspiration from and collaborates with RMI, a 40-year-old nongovernmental organization. RMI India’s mission is to accelerate India’s transition to a clean, prosperous, and inclusive energy future.