Yulu to deploy 1 lakh e-bikes in 1 year

Shared electric mobility start-up Yulu is targeting to deploy about one lakh electric bikes, sourced from Bajaj Auto, over the next one year as it looks to expand operations, a senior company official told The Hindu.

About 10,000 of these bikes will hit the roads in September this year, the official added.

Yulu, which currently has the largest battery-as-a-service network with three million battery swaps till date, has a fleet of 10,000 units running currently across its home city Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai and provides last mile personal-mobility service.

“We are focusing on three cities right now, but we will add two more cities – Pune and Hyderabad,” R. K. Misra, co-founder, told The Hindu. “We have ordered one lakh bikes. Bajaj is our partner, and they will be manufacturing the bikes. Starting September this year, we should bring about 10,000 new bikes on the road.”

Mr. Misra added that post the pandemic, a new use case emerged for Yulu bikes i.e. use of these bikes by delivery boys. “During Covid, in Bangalore, everything was shut and the only vehicle allowed on the road was Yulu,” he said.

“A lot of delivery boys, who could not afford to buy a motorcycle or did not have licences, used Yulu. We designed Yulu in a way that anybody can use. It doesn’t require any licence or registration and doesn’t go over a speed of 25 km/hr.”

The company will soon bring out a separate tailor-made vehicle targeted at commercial mobility. It will come out with a goods carrier, and will be grey in colour as opposed to the blue bike for personal mobility. “The bikes for commercial use will be able to support goods weight of about 15-20kgs. We are eyeing deliveries of small stuff like for Swiggy, Zomato, Zepto etc… not bigger ones like for marketplaces like Amazon etc.”

Asked about demand by bodies such as Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) for low-speed electric two-wheelers, Mr. Misra said, “Yulu has been made as per specifications given by the Government of India… no licence means what? Cycle does not have a licence, should we ban that also? Moreover, electric cycles can go up to speeds of 35km/hour and normal cycle at about 18 km/hour… Yulu is 25 km/hour… has there been a single fatal accident of Yulu in the last three years?”

He added that the company operates in two thirds of of Bengaluru and in these areas one can find a Yulu bike within 250 metres. “Unless you can create this kind of density, it will not become a habit.”

In other cities, including Delhi, he said, the biggest hurdle in expansion is the lack of vision of policy makers. “Delhi, for example, has the best metro in the country but it is still not used… It has a capacity of 20,000 riders per peak hour and even pre-COVID, it achieved only 9,000 riders per peak hour…Delhi needs shared mobility solution the most, but it is the most difficult,” he said.

Mr. Misra noted that the lack of ridership in the Metro is only because of the problems related to last-mile connectivity. A lot of people have to travel about 3-4 kms to reach the Metro. “And this connectivity has to come from the private sector. The government can only invest into MRTS or mass rapid transit systems.”

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2022 7:40:37 pm |