Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has announced that his company is building electric rickshaws in India as part of its efforts to help fight the climate crisis. There’s not a whole lot more details on the subject at this point in time, but in an open letter to the company’s customers and business partners during his current trip to India, the world’s richest man said that the company is adding 10,000 electric rickshaws to its delivery fleet in order to reduce its carbon footprint.
According to the letter, “Amazon is invested in sustainable growth and is the first company to sign the Climate Pledge – with a commitment to meet the Paris Accord ten years early. In India, we’ve announced that we will eliminate single-use plastic from our fulfillment network by June 2020, and we are adding 10,000 electric rickshaws to our delivery fleet”.
Amazon’s plans to invest in e-rickshaws in India is a significant step, given that the market is largely dominated by unorganized players peddling ultra-cheap vehicles of questionable build quality with unsafe batteries. The initiative is expected to boost the organized sector, which includes players like Kinetic, Hero and Mahindra, who combine to sell barely 1,500-2,000 such vehicles per month, while unorganized players sell 10,000 e-rickshaws, mostly in North India, across UP, West Bengal, Delhi and Bihar.
In addition to the e-rickshaw initiative, Bezos has also announced that Amazon will invest $1 billion to help digitize hundreds of small and medium businesses (SMBs) on its platform in the country. Speaking at the Amazon ‘Smbhav’ event in New Delhi, he also said that the e-commerce major will, through its global footprint, help SMBs export products worth $10 billion by 2025.