BENGALURU : Leading logistics startup Delhivery Pvt Ltd plans to use electric vehicles and drones to scale up their delivery process, although the latter is still under regulatory lens, said a company executive.

The Gurugram-based firm plans to deploy electric vehicles to scale up their operations in the near future. “We believe this is the only scalable model," Vaibhav Suri, co-head, product & strategy, Delhivery said at the Nasscom Product Conclave in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Suri said drones will be a reality in the near future with the government also investing heavily in this area. “Drones are the only way to solve the scale problem given that 45% of the delivery cost typically goes to the driver," he said.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has been working for several years to establish a world leading drone ecosystem in India. In January 2019, a whitepaper on drone policy 2.0 was presented by the minister for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, paving the way for wider application of drones such as delivery of goods beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

Earlier this year, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had sought applications from players interested in conducting BVLOS drone operations on an experimental basis. While the timelines have been delayed, this is seen as a significant step by the government to promote the use of drones.

Logistics-based startups have been eyeing electric vehicles for quite some time now as they can significantly reduce the cost of last-mile deliveries. This year, e-commerce giant Flipkart said it plans to replace about 40% of its fleet of delivery vans with electric vehicles by March 2020. In July, the online grocery startup said it is looking to deploy 500 electric vehicles for its last-mile delivery by the end of this year.

In March, Delhivery raised $413 million of funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund which has put the logistics startup in the coveted unicorn club with its valuation rising to more than $1.5 billion. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) also bought an 8% stake in Delhivery for $115 million from an existing investor in September.

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