Purpose Built EVs To Drive Efficiency In Last-Mile Delivery Segment?

By designing EVs specifically for LMD operations, companies can optimise their vehicles for the unique requirements of this market, including the need for efficient, low-cost transportation of goods over short distances

The shift towards electric vehicles in India can yield numerous advantages due to the country's abundance of renewable energy resources and skilled workforce in the technology and manufacturing industries. The Indian automotive market is expected to become the third largest in terms of volume by 2030, but relying on traditional fuel-intensive transportation methods will not be feasible for such a large domestic market. As a result, policymakers at the federal level are working towards a "Shared, Connected, and Electric" mobility solution that aligns with the Government's goal of achieving complete electrification. 

Over the past few years, there has been notable advancement in the production and acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs), primarily in the sectors of two and three-wheelers. Several electric motorcycle and scooter models are currently accessible in the market, and some corporations have even started manufacturing electric three-wheelers for commercial use. As a result, EVs have become the preferred option for Last Mile Delivery (LMD) in the transportation and logistics supply chain industries. Last-mile delivery has altered consumers' buying habits and expectations by providing convenience and swift delivery. The increase in same-day or next-day delivery options has resulted in consumers anticipating faster delivery times, causing them to rely more on online shopping for urgent purchases instead of visiting physical stores. Last-mile delivery has had a significant impact on consumers' purchasing patterns.

Although the use of EVs for LMD is already well-established in Europe and other developed countries, young entrepreneurs in India have only recently taken an interest in this area. Since then, they have been eager to participate in the transition by adopting a design-thinking approach to innovation. This approach involves not only building EVs but also introducing connected vehicle software, IoT, fleet management, charging infrastructure, battery swapping, and other technologies that encompass the entire EV ecosystem in the country. Today's dynamic entrepreneurs are exploring the emerging LMD market, which has been fueled by the pandemic-induced surge in online shopping and e-commerce worldwide. 

Purpose-built electric vehicles have the potential to drive significant efficiency gains in the Last Mile Delivery segment. By designing EVs specifically for LMD operations, companies can optimise their vehicles for the unique requirements of this market, including the need for efficient, low-cost transportation of goods over short distances. One of the key advantages of purpose-built EVs is their ability to maximise cargo space while minimising vehicle size. This is important for LMD operations where cargo volume is often more important than weight. By designing EVs with larger cargo compartments, companies can transport more goods in fewer trips, reducing the number of vehicles on the road and improving overall efficiency.

Converting internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) through retrofitting may not always be a feasible option, especially for older or high-mileage vehicles, due to the high cost of conversion that outweighs the vehicle's value. Moreover, retrofitting heavy-duty trucks may not be practical because of their specialised components and insufficient space or weight capacity to accommodate batteries. 

In addition, purpose-built EVs can be designed with advanced features such as connected vehicle software, IoT sensors, and fleet management tools, which can help optimise vehicle performance and improve overall efficiency. For example, real-time data analytics can be used to optimise routes and reduce idle time, while predictive maintenance tools can help prevent breakdowns and minimise downtime. While LEVs offer many benefits for urban mobility, rider safety should always be a top priority. By following best practices for safe riding, maintaining their vehicles properly, and receiving proper training and education, LEV riders can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and enjoy the many benefits that LEVs have to offer.

Another advantage of purpose-built EVs is that they can be designed with the specific needs of LMD operators in mind, such as the need for easy access to charging infrastructure. This can be achieved by designing EVs with built-in battery swapping systems or by working with charging infrastructure providers to ensure that charging stations are strategically located and easily accessible. 

Overall, purpose-built electric vehicles can be a game-changer for the Last Mile Delivery segment, as they can be designed specifically to meet the unique requirements of this sector. Unlike traditional delivery vehicles that have been retrofitted with EV powertrains, purpose-built EVs can offer greater efficiency and performance by optimising the design of the vehicle for its intended use and companies can reduce operating costs, improve delivery times, and reduce their environmental footprint, all while providing a better customer experience. 

The article has been written by Namit Jain, Founder and CEO of Zen Mobility

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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