News

Where is my delivery? - The EV story

by Shweta Thakur on Dec 14, 2022

Where is my delivery? - The EV story

We are perhaps one of the few businesses who made the choice of using only EVs for our last mile delivery. Now, on paper, that sounds super exciting & a great 'sustainable' value proposition for the customer. But how sustainable is it - in more ways than one? Let's find out.

One of the first decisions we took was to keep the delivery in-house simply because we are selling grocery and we cant afford 3rd party delivery service for that. The unit economics doesn't work out.

We considered investing in the EVs - but realised it would be wasted investment given the pace of tech dev in EVs. So we decided to work with one of the only lease service providers at that time.

After 1.5 years of running on EVs, we have saved 55MT tons of CO2! And that feels real cool - almost a pat on the back. We save about 20kg per 100km run.

But our EVs charge from regular electricity at this time. This means that we are still burning carbon to run the EVs. At scale, we would want to move to a solar charging solution - which would actually make the process sustainable. Not just that, battery disposal is going to be a big challenge in the EV space. And in the absence of a large scale solution here - this solution can hardly be called more sustainable.

The bigger challenges, however, come on a day to day basis management of this solution:

  1. Maintenance - Given that the tech is relatively new, the OEM maintenance of the vehicle takes tad bit longer than regular combustion engines. As a result, we have to lug around a not so perfect vehicle for longer than a combustion engine - affecting the delivery efficiency.
  2. Discharge - Yes we know the range of the vehicle is. However, sometimes, due to live traffic conditions & detours, the vehicles get discharged faster than planned. As a result, some deliveries are left incomplete.
  3. Speed - These vehicles are slow to navigate around the city traffic. Power mode reduces the charge & distance faster. Hence, in the regular mode, this becomes relatively slower than combustion to deliver in.
  4. Distance Traversed - Each of our vehicles can at best do 100km a day. This means that we are unable to cover some areas of the city - unless we create more delivery hubs.

The tough part of the story is that customer expectation does not change because we decided to make the delivery more sustainable. Hence, we work double hard to make the delivery efficient as well.

We are working on better routing, planning to optimise the vehicle coverage in the city. We work with our partners to charge vehicles mid-route to ensure they don't get discharged. But the only way this delivery fleet becomes more efficient is when we build scale to be able to deliver more orders in compact areas. And the answer to that is growth :)

So yeah, it's kind of a vegan chicken & egg situation - of being able to provide a complete post-purchase customer experience while also building business efficiency. We hope our customers' love & understanding will be the key to the solution here.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.