IKEA India electric rickshaws

IKEA makes deliveries with electric rickshaws from first Indian store

Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA has opened its first Indian store in Hyderabad, complete with a fleet of electric rickshaws for deliveries.

Photos on social media show branded rickshaws painted in the company's signature blue and yellow, with brightly patterned canopies and cushions. While these petrol vehicles were used for brand activation, IKEA also has a fleet of electric rickshaws that will make deliveries across the city.

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The electric three-wheeled vehicles, operated by IKEA's logistics partner GATI-KWE, will make up 20 per cent of the Hyderabad store's delivery fleet.

Like all rickshaws, their narrow dimensions make them suitable for navigating congested roads and narrow streets, however, these battery-operated vehicles are less polluting than standard auto rickshaws that run on fossil fuels.

Along with using electric vehicle the store has 4,000 solar panels installed on the roof that will be used to light the shop.

IKEA electric rickshaws
IKEA's fleet of electric rickshaws, operated by IKEA's logistics partner GATI-KWE, will make deliveries across the city

Excited customers queued for hours to visit the shop, causing such large traffic jams that Hyderabad's traffic police, which blamed the snarl-up on IKEA for "insufficient parking", had to issue a warning.

Rather than serving up their traditional Swedish delicacy of pork meatballs, the cafe at India's first IKEA will serve samosas, chicken balls and biriyani to cater to Hyderabad's majority Hindu and Muslim population.

Alongside firm IKEA favourites such as the Billy bookcase and Lack table, the 37,161-square metre store will stock culturally relevant products such as masala boxes, rice cake makers, pressure cookers and a mattress made using coconut fibres.

Excess power produced by solar panels on the roof will also be used to power the shop's LED lighting.

"At IKEA, the people, the community and our contribution to the planet is the biggest priority," said IKEA India manager Peter Betzel.

Last year IKEA, which has been selling solar panels since 2013, launched its own brand solar battery packs to allow customers to reduce their reliance on the energy grid.

IKEA reportedly plans to open 25 shops in India by 2025. The Swedish brand is celebrating its 75th birthday this year by relaunching some of its most famous pieces from its back catalogue, including its first Klippan sofa and the retro Ekenäset armchair.

Earlier this year IKEA launched its seventh Innehållsrik collection, featuring hand-woven textiles made by artisan women artisans in India.

Main picture from IKEA India.