Historically, last mile connectivity through conventional ICE vehicles has been a part of the mobility ecosystem of several Indian cities. However, with increased environmental concerns and rising awareness there is a visible shit to cleaner and greener alternatives. Sensing the significance of last mile connectivity both government and private players have also been taking several initiatives for greening of these fleets. This has resulted in E-2Ws and E-3Ws capturing a major share of the electric vehicle market in India.
In recent times, pandemic induced social distancing norms and periodic lockdowns have introduced people to options for reduced travel or short-distance travel. At the same time, it has resulted in reducing the per-vehicle capacity of shared and public modes of transport which in turn has created a demand for higher number of vehicles in last mile transport fleets. Additionally, the pandemic has prompted a surge in e-commerce orders, fostering a demand for appropriate last-mile transport options for deliveries. International, national and local e-commerce companies (Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, Zomato etc.) are setting ambitious targets for electrification of their fleets. Enterprises that – in the past – have relied on inbound foot traffic are also restructuring their focus to ‘last mile’ deliveries so they can compete.
With the greening of fleets, the total cost of operations is on a decline, allowing more savings for each of the stakeholders. Further, this has also led to technological advancement, leading to ease of driving and maintenance, providing livelihood opportunities across the skill spectrum. This shift has been instrumental in providing women with an opportunity to enter this economic sphere and to drive and create a new scope of livelihood for themselves.
Thus, the objective of this study is to explore the potential of decarbonisation of last mile connectivity on local economy and livelihood opportunities including gender inclusivity, skill inclusivity, reduced environment pollution and standard of living from a ‘just transition’ point of view. The overarching aim will be to explore the connectivity practices in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities of India and construct a comparative map regarding the preferable modes and strategies for electrification for last mile delivery and last mile connectivity of passengers.
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Assistant Policy Analyst
Senior Research Associate