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Shared Mobility Soon to be a Major Transportation Mode in India

YuluThe sharing of various forms of transportation, such as cars, bikes, taxis and buses with others is known as shared mobility. There are numerous companies in the automotive industry which are focusing on it. The aim of doing this is making country pollution free and getting relief from road congestion and also you can save money.

Nitisha from Bisinfotech had an interaction with Amit Gupta, CEO and Co-founder of Yulu. Headquarted in Bengaluru, Yulu is a technology-driven mobility platform that enables Integrated Urban Mobility across public and private modes of transport. Amit says that our cities are chocked, India still has one of the lowest penetrations of personal ownership of vehicles, so the transition to shared and environment-friendly is expected to be faster and it will surprise everyone.

Yulu’s offerings and specialties

Amit Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Yulu
Amit Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Yulu

We have begun on the journey to make urban commute efficient and eco-friendly. We have visualized a canvas that is structured to the tune of building and creating livable cities of tomorrow. Yulu is the largest e-mobility player in India with its operations running in 7 seven cities – Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurugram, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Bhubaneswar. YULU has grown to become a movement because it is solving the complex problem of First and Last Mile connectivity while also helping alleviate the challenges of congestion and pollution. YULU’s vision is to provide a safe, shared, smart, and sustainable urban e-mobility solution that is seamlessly integrated with public transport with an objective to drastically reduce congestion and pollution and improve economic productivity.

With more than 18,000 eco-friendly vehicles and 2.5 Mn 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 human and battery-powered vehicles and technologies like IoT, ML & AI.

Yulu uses NMV’s which are custom designed for Indian roads and fitted with a secure lock system. Each vehicle can be accessed with a smartphone app which gives you, as a rider, smart, simple and convenient ride experience. To ensure convenience and better accessibility, we have created virtual docking stations in the cities we serve called Yulu Zones.  With regards to safety, Yulu vehicles are sanitised several times in a day through a WHO-recommended sanitizer and the last-sanitized timestamp is shown to the users on the Yulu app.

As pioneers in this space, YULU is a platform to provide “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) and our partnerships with UBER, Bajaj, Delhi & Bangalore Metro are a testimony to our commitment to seamless integration with various modes of transport for the end-to-end mobility solution.

Yulu actively engages with various stakeholders including city, state, and central governments to propose and facilitate the public policy formulation towards shared and sustainable mobility such as Public Bike Sharing (PBS) and Electric Mobility.

These policies have lead to the creation of NMT (Non-Motorized Transport) and vehicle charging infrastructure. Yulu strives to be a thought & act leader to promote shared and sustainable urban mobility as a MaaS provider.

USP of Yulu

“Yulu Miracle” is a unique battery operated, lightweight, easy to ride, 2 wheeler that has no legal requirement for the helmet, registration plate, or driving license. It has enabled individuals to switch to a more efficient commute option at pocket-friendly prices and with 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 has a little dependency on external factors.

Yulu uses IoT, Machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence to deliver a seamless experience via a user-friendly app. Using IoT as the backbone of operations, the vehicles can be rented seamlessly 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 preferred parking spots called Yulu Zones.

  • Solved for Battery Charging Infrastructure

Yulu has solved the chicken & egg problem faced by the Electric Vehicle ecosystem in India, where the lack of charging infrastructure influences the advent of EVs, and vice versa. Yulu has created a unique battery-swapping network by placing its proprietary IoT enabled charging box (Yulu Max) at hundreds of mom-n-pop stores across its operational areas. Yulu’s on-ground Ops team is able to locate the nearest Yulu Max which has charged batteries using a dedicated app for the Ops team. The same app shows the set of vehicles that have a battery-charge level below a defined threshold along with their real-time location. This method is low cost and highly scalable.

  • Solved for Parking Infrastructure

Unlike China, Indian cities don’t have the infrastructure for parking of shared mobility vehicles. Yulu has solved this problem by working with Cities, Corporates and Citizens who have given access to prime real estate to create Yulu Zones. Most of these spots have been given to Yulu in kind to help build sustainable mobility for the cities in a collaborative manner. Yulu has been able to replicate this model in every city it operates.

  • Solved for the safety of the assets

Yulu Miracle has a theft rate of less than 1% which is significantly lower than global ride-sharing platforms. This is attributable to Yulu’s operational model of drop off at designated Yulu Zones and a human network of local-informers and “well-wishers” who tip off its Ops team in case of any potential abuse or theft incident. Further, as the Yulu Miracle was designed specifically for shared mobility it has no “standard” parts, which could be used in other bikes in the market, there is no economic value for someone stealing them. Additionally, Yulu has deployed a team of “bike-marshals” who ensure strong consequence-management actions when they catch someone doing wrong with its fleet.

  • Solved for high durability

Yulu Miracle has been built keeping in mind the convenience of users on Indian roads, ease of maintenance for the on-ground Ops team and durability to be used in a shared mobility model. The minimal use of plastic parts and regular proactive maintenance activities have ensured that the Miracles are in good working conditions at all times. The first batch of Miracles deployed in Bangalore, which have been on the road for over 7 months has shown no sign of a reduction in asset quality.

Upcoming Projects

Yulu plans to expand to a fleet of 100K EVs across 5-7 major cities in India by Dec 2021. In the long run, Yulu aims to be present in 100+ cities to become the most dominant micro-mobility player in India by using 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.

Your views about shared mobility in India

Electric mobility is the future of the automobile industry. Our country is about to experience a revolution in mobility. The future of mobility is Safe, Smart, Shared, Sustainable, and Small and Electric vehicles have a big role in this transition. Shared e-Mobility technologies are changing the landscape of India’s transport systems. While our cities are chocked, India still has one of the lowest penetration of personal ownership of vehicles, so the transition to shared and environment-friendly is expected to be faster and it will surprise everyone.

The millennials find shared mobility more economical and convenient and possess a fondness for the renting economy rather than buying an automobile. There is a dramatic shift in the demand for the automobile due to the rise of shared mobility, higher investments in public transport in cities, and leapfrogging to BS VI. In terms of adoption in the country, we believe that two-wheeler (2Ws) fleets and three-wheelers (3Ws) would be the first off the block, followed by intra-city buses, corporate cabs, and government fleets. India is a country of bikers, a majority of car owners also prefer to use a two-wheeler to reach work. The rising trend of scooterisation in India will continue and two-wheelers will be more attractive targets for electrification in the short term. 2Ws are expected to be one of the early adopters of electrification due to low cost, high vehicle utilization, access to easy finance powered by home or workplace charging options (limited currently but evolving).

How shared mobility can be helpful and safe during this pandemic situation

Social Distancing likely to become the norm while people commute. Given the requirement of social distancing, solo ridership will be preferred to the group, and driver led shared mobility options. The ongoing corona crisis has provided us with the opportunity to offer a single-seater and sanitized commute option and we are privileged to be able to serve citizens in India in this hour of need.

Citizens’ safety is Yulu’s topmost priority and we are following a tech-enabled sanitization process where our vehicles are sanitized several times in a day through a WHO-recommended sanitizer and the last sanitized timestamp is shown to our users on the app.

The year 2019-2020 in terms of business

2020 has been a momentous journey full of challenges and opportunities, with a truly rewarding outcome. Safety from Coronavirus is the topmost concern of commuters. The ongoing corona crisis has allowed us to offer safe mobility solutions to our users. Users find Yulu as the safest mode of commute due to our single-seater vehicles, frequent sanitization, and last sanitized time stamp on the app. We are making Indians truly Atmanirbhar with the freedom to commute safely in crucial circumstances. As we transcend towards the new normal, it is interesting to note that there is a surge in the demand for solo and sanitized mobility solutions.

During 2019-20 we also partnered with e-commerce and hyper-local delivery segments to ensure the supply of essential goods to the citizens who are stranded in their homes. Safety from Corona is the topmost concern of Urban Commuters post-Lockdown and hence, Yulu introduced the last sanitized timestamp feature on the app.

Yulu entered Bandra Kurla Complex(BKC) in collaboration with MMRDA and we  launched our services in the new city – Gurugram

We are witnessing a strong recovery with 1.6X growth in the percentage of new users and a 50% increase in the distance, as well as usage time.

Challenges for e- mobility

As mentioned earlier, we have developed an EV mindset, but are far behind in fast-tracking the process. Apart from charging infrastructure, the following challenges come across as roadblocks:

  • Coming up with short-term fixes and a lack of systematic city planning
  • Connecting the dots on why all smart city planning needs a ‘strong backbone of smart transport system’ especially for two- and three-wheeler mass mobility purposes fulfilling the last-mile promise effectively
  • Lack of designated bus and bicycle lane tracks
  • Rationalizing charging infrastructure as a key norm for any new upcoming real estate / IT hubs projects
  •  Limited focus on harnessing renewable energy

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Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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