Latin America
August 17, 2023

Newlab and Mercado Libre Drive Sustainable Mobility Innovation in Latin America

Newlab has partnered with Mercado Libre, one of the largest companies in Latin America, to decarbonize their operations and create a blueprint for the logistics industry.

Newlab has partnered with Mercado Libre, one of the largest companies in Latin America and a global leader in ecommerce and logistics, to address one of the key challenges faced by logistics companies today: accelerating the decarbonization of their operations. Through the partnership with Newlab, a center of invention with offices in New York, Detroit, and Montevideo, Mercado Libre is actively working to mitigate environmental impact by introducing innovative solutions to its fleet across Latin America.

A micromobility prototype for last mile delivery presented in Detroit

Over the next few months, Newlab and Mercado Libre will work together to identify promising low carbon mobility technologies from startups across the globe and develop on-the-ground pilots to validate them. Successful pilots could lead to product integration into Mercado Libre’s logistic network, helping to execute the company’s ambitious environmental strategy.

"The rapid growth of Mercado Libre in Latin America challenges us to become more efficient in managing and reducing our environmental impact, particularly in the critical area of sustainable mobility. The project with Newlab will enable us to accelerate progress, focusing on the vehicles used for last-mile delivery in areas with high traffic and population density," stated Guadalupe Marín, Director of Sustainability at Mercado Libre.

Nicolas Canusso (Sustainability Manager, Mercado Libre), Ariel Katz (Environmental Head, Mercado Libre), Satish Rao (Chief Product Officer, Newlab), Felipe Turqueti (Transformation Manager, Mercado Libre) and Nicolás Slinger (Program Director, Newlab LatAm).

Mercado Libre currently operates the largest e-commerce logistics fleet in Latin America. However, the company has set its sights on a significant expansion, with plans to reach 10,000 low carbon vehicles in the near future.

To achieve this goal, Newlab and Mercado Libre have announced an open call for global startups to participate in the Low Carbon Logistics Studio, focused on reducing the carbon footprint of their last mile delivery in Latin America in the following areas:

  1. Micromobility: Using light electric vehicles (LEVs) for efficient urban delivery and navigation, emissions reduction, and sustainable logistics, leveraging technologies such as efficient load out and battery swap.
  2. Retrofit: Converting existing internal combustion engine (ICE) delivery vans into cost-effective, high-performance electric mobility solutions.
  3. Shared Private Charging: Installing turnkey solutions for EV fleet charging in shared parking lots at convenient urban locations.
  4. Portable Chargers: Providing portable, reliable, smart chargers for EV charging, promoting adoption in a cost-efficient way.
  5. EV Planning and Live Optimization Platforms: Optimizing EV form factors and infrastructure, routes, and live fleet management for efficient operations and cost optimization.
  6. Aerial Delivery: Leveraging drones and UAVs across different use cases for fast and cost-effective deliveries.

Selected startups will pilot their technology with Mercado Libre and Newlab, leveraging Mercado Libre’s operations across Latin America, Newlab’s LATAM HQ in Uruguay, and the recently-opened mobility innovation hub in Newlab Detroit. Mercado Libre has also expressed interest in considering strategic partnerships and investments in the most promising startups from the studio as part of their continued effort to build an innovative, long-term low carbon strategy.

Newlab's expansion into Montevideo in 2021 reflects Uruguay's aspirations to become a global center for innovation. Serving as Newlab's first subsidiary outside the United States, this strategic move positions Uruguay as an epicenter of innovation for all of Latin America.

To be considered for the Low Carbon Logistics Studio, startups should submit their applications by September 4th. The application process involves a thorough review by a panel of industry experts. Selected startups will be invited to work directly with Newlab and Mercado Libre for a dedicated pilot period of collaboration, innovation, and growth.

To apply and learn more about the Low Carbon Logistics Studio, please visit our website before the September 4th deadline.

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