Amid the Indian government’s increased focus on electric vehicle adoption, Bengaluru-based micromobility platform Yulu has launched its EV rental services for electric scooters in Delhi. Starting today, the company will operate 40 Yulu Zones at around nine metro stations on the blue and yellow line from Dilli Haat INA to JLN Stadium in central Delhi. The company has already been operating in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune and Bhubaneswar.
Speaking to Inc42, Amit Gupta, cofounder and CEO of Yulu said, “It’s an aspirational launch. The city, the national capital of India is grappling with air pollution and traffic congestion. As part of the strategy, we have launched with electric vehicles only and not bicycles.”
Gupta added that Yulu is coming to Delhi with over 200 Miracles [Yulu’s electric scooter] across 40 Yulu Zones and it plans to take this number to 5000 Miracles and 750 Yulu Zones by the end of the year.
“We have planned to go Gurugram, Noida, and other NCR cities over the course of the next 18 months.”
Yulu’s Micromobility Miracle In Delhi
Unlike Bengaluru, Delhi has robust widespread metro lines across the city, but there remained a huge gap to meet commuters’ micromobility needs such as going to and fro these metro stations. Gupta said that Yulu has adopted the same business model as it did in Bengaluru for its Delhi launch.
“As we got the Bengaluru Metro’s support in Bengaluru, DMRC too has extended its support to us. DMRC has helped us create Yulu Zones across the Delhi metro stations.” Gupta added that customers cannot drop off Miracle electric scooters anywhere in the city, but only at designated Yulu Zones. The company would be creating Yulu Zones around large housing complexes and corporate buildings.
Dr Mangu Singh, managing director, DMRC said Yulu coming to Delhi brings an affordable and sustainable mode of transport for citizens. “Today, DMRC is the preferred choice of commuters in Delhi and the NCR region. Our public bike-sharing (PBS) initiative with Yulu will provide much needed first and last-mile connectivity to our users. It is one of its kind collaboration to make mobility seamless and sustainable.”
With an aim to address the rising air pollution and traffic congestion, Yulu was launched in 2017 by Gupta, RK Mishra, Hemant Gupta, and Naveen Dachuri. It started as a bicycle-sharing platform and focussed on first-mile, last-mile and short-distance commuters to reduce traffic congestion through four-wheelers and pollution through bikes.
Yulu has raised $7 Mn in funding with the last round coming in March 2019. It is backed by investors including Blume Ventures, 3One4, Wavemaker Partners, Incubate Fund India, Grey Cell Ventures and more, and thanks to the success of the operations in other locations, it has now made its way to Delhi, which is the biggest
Extending The Yulu-Uber Partnership
Unlike some other micromobility players such as Rapido, Bounce and VOGO which have raised huge funding in the last few months, Yulu has been very tactical in terms of fundraising as well as expanding its operations.
Gupta termed the growth organic, led by consumer queries, demands and partnerships. In May this year, cab-hailing giant Uber announced its partnership with Yulu. Last year, Ola had partnered with VOGO to enable micro-mobility rides on its platform. The integration is expected to be completed by this year-end.
On the partnership, whether it will be replicated in Delhi and other places too, Gupta said, “Right now, our partnership with Uber is in the pilot phase. As part of the partnership, Uber sends links of Yulu services to their own users through the app notifications, SMS or email. The idea is to see the usage pattern. And, then take the larger decision for the multi-year deal.”
He added that while the pilot is currently only in Bengaluru, the progress will be reviewed by the beginning of next year or the end of 2019. And based on this it could be converted into a long-term partnership with Uber.
Miracle Scooters Going Strong
The company has currently 8K bicycles and 2K Miracle electric scooters, and over 1000 Yulu Zones in Bengaluru. The city is home to 65 to 70% of the company’s fleet and is clearly the hub of operations.
Having launched Miracle earlier this year, Gupta said that Yulu has been able to work on valuable feedback. “Consumers have given us overwhelmingly positive feedback on the product. They loved the form factor, the ease of comfort. However, there was some valuable feedback. For instance, they asked for a rear shock-absorber, which we have added now.”
Miracle has not been launched in Pune yet and is only in Bengaluru, Navi Mumbai and Delhi. The company plans to have 15K-20K Miracle bikes by December this year.
Auto Slowdown Pushes Shared Mobility
With India facing a huge economic crisis, many auto companies have slowed down production and have cut thousands of jobs. However, Gupta feels, this has impacted shared economy in a different manner. He added that this shows a tendency to buy fewer new cars. Instead, people are now opting for shared mobility, which is also evident from Yulu’s launch in Delhi.
Gupta believes this is a global trend playing out in India and that consumers no longer want to buy assets but simply use the services. “The dynamics are changing.”