An affordable eco-friendly commute
Amit Gupta, CEO – Yulu Bikes, shared with ETN how his company's micro-mobility EV is re-defining urban mobility across the country.
Q: What was the vision behind Urban Mobility as a Service?
The aim was essentially to address the rising air pollution and traffic congestion in India. The other idea was to ease travel for commuters especially in the last mile connectivity leg of the journey. Here the Yulu Miracle provides an eco-friendly UMaaS or Urban Mobility as a Service, which is an affordable, sharable, and scalable solution for the first mile, last mile, and short distance commute.
Q:Tell us about the Yulu Miracle and the running of the fleet.
Yulu Miracle is a unique battery-operated, lightweight, easy-to-ride e-2W that has no legal requirement for a helmet, registration plate, or driving license. It offers individuals an efficient commute option at a very reasonable cost and zero carbon footprint.
Yulu has developed a vertical stack needed to run its EV fleet. From design and ownership of the assets to charging the batteries to on-ground operations, Yulu is self-sufficient.
Q: How does the system of renting work? What about battery re-charging?
Yulu uses IoT, ML, and AI in its user-friendly app through which the vehicles can be rented on a pay-per-use basis. Users can book a ride via the iOS or Android app and the smart bikes can be unlocked via QR codes. Yulu operates on a virtual docking method, where Yulu vehicles can be picked up or returned by users from its network of parking lots called Yulu Zones.
The Yulu battery is swapped and then re-charged through Yulu Max, a proprietary charging box installed at hundreds of mom-n-pop stores across its operational areas. Yulu's on-ground Ops Team carries out operations through an app, which also shows the set of vehicles that have a battery-charge level below a defined threshold along with their real-time location.
Q: How is the collaboration with Bajaj defined?
Bajaj Auto Limited (BAL) has joined hands with Yulu to transform the urban commute in India. Our strategic partnership with Bajaj will help us in creating Aatmanirbhar Bharat as we come together to develop the largest e-mobility service with the latest techniques and technology. Bajaj Auto, the largest OEM has been helping us to design and manufacture the e-2W - Yulu Miracle for the shared mobility space. Yulu is solving the first and last-mile mobility problem and sustainably growing its footprint.
Q: What adjustments were necessary to your growth plans to ensure profitability in this downturn period?
Given the requirement of social distancing, solo ridership was and will continue to be preferred to group travel and driver-led shared mobility options. Yulu has onboarded significant users post lockdown 3.0, which proves solo ridership is the most preferred choice of users. During the nationwide lockdown, Yulu partnered with many e-commerce companies and hyper-local delivery startups to enable the delivery of everyday essentials to millions of Indians stranded in their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Q: Could you elaborate on the specific product and the business model you have in mind for delivery workers?
Our vehicles are used primarily by young working professionals and college students during the peak morning and evening hours. Beyond this we have collaborated with various delivery companies for use of our vehicles in the afternoon or our non-peak hours, but when there is a surge in demand of online food delivery business during office lunch hours. We have several curated saver packs for such a customer base. No registration and no driving license also help the gig workers to enjoy affordable and eco-friendly rides.
Q: Please share some features of the Yulu bike as well as technical specs of the battery.
Yulu Miracle is a unique battery-operated, lightweight, easy-to-ride, small 2W. It has a maximum speed of 25 kmph. It has been built keeping in mind the convenience of users on Indian roads, ease of maintenance for the on-ground Ops Team, and durability necessary in a shared mobility vehicle. Regular maintenance ensures that the Miracles are in good working conditions at all times. The first batch of Miracles deployed in Bangalore, which has been on the road for over seven months, has shown no sign of a reduction in quality.
The weight of the Yulu Miracle is 45kg; the battery power output is 48V 20 aH and requires four hours for a full charge, which allows a range of 60-65 km.
Q: What are the distinctive features of Yulu as a company?
Yulu is an e-mobility firm and a 100 percent EV player with a mission to create sustainable cities of tomorrow by revolutionizing the way people commute. In the past three years, we have established brand connect with more than 40+ stakeholders. Yulu has developed a holistic ecosystem for ride-sharing by collaborating with OEMs, numerous corporates, co-working spaces, co-living spaces, government authorities, and metro authorities to provide end-to-end e-mobility solutions to citizens across locations.
Ride-hailing giant Uber has also partnered with Yulu to build a large-scale shared-mobility business in India. With more than 18,000 eco-friendly vehicles and 2.5 million users, Yulu runs India's largest EV-led micro-mobility platform. Yulu's mission is to create sustainable cities of tomorrow by revolutionizing the way people commute through its specially designed battery-powered vehicles and technologies like IoT, ML, and AI.
Yulu runs its operations currently in seven major Indian cities - Bangalore, New Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Gurugram, Ahmedabad, and Bhubaneswar. As a pioneer in this space, Yulu has influenced several policies for micro-mobility in India by working closely with policy-makers both at the city as well as at the national level.
During the current pandemic, Yulu has come up with a Time Stamp feature where the user can see when the Yulu bike was last sanitized. Most importantly, Yulu is now available with a multi-lingual language option to serve the diverse user base of the country.
Q: What are plans for the future and where do you see Yulu five years from now?
Our goal is to run the Yulu service in 5-7 major cities in India by December 2021. We envision being present in 100+ Indian cities to become the largest e-mobility player in India. We plan to use a combination of a company-owned - company-operated, as well as franchise-owned - franchise-operated model. Using the scale of the domestic market and strategic partners, Yulu will also launch its services in more than ten countries outside India by forming JVs.