With an aim to address the rising air pollution and traffic congestion in India, Yulu was founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneur Amit Gupta, who had earlier co-founded India’s first profitable unicorn InMobi. Yulu provides an eco-friendly UMaaS – Urban Mobility as a Service which is an affordable, sharable and scalable solution commute option for the first mile, last mile, and short distance commute. Below are the excerpts of talk which Telematics Wire had with Amit Gupta recently-
Can you give a brief update about Yulu.
With more than 16,000 eco-friendly vehicles and 2 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 human and battery-powered vehicles and technologies like IoT, ML & AI. Yulu runs its operations currently in 6 major Indian cities – Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bhubaneswar. As pioneers in this space, Yulu has influenced several policies for micro-mobility in India by working closing with policy-makers at the city as well as at the national levels
What has been the driver in growth of Yulu’s shared micro-mobility in India?
“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 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 little dependence on external factors.
- 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.
- 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
- Frugal Capex of the Miracle, combined with its cluster-based setup and efficient & tech-enabled operations, has led to profitable unit economics. Yulu has the best contribution margin rate in the industry, even when compared to micro-mobility peers globally. In a steady-state, this profitability will further improve with economies of scale.
How do ensure safety of your Move/Miracle, both at Yulu zone and also when someone is using it to ride to destination?
Yulu vehicles have 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 as the Yulu vehicles are 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. We also have human network of local-informers and “well-wishers” who update us in case of any potential abuse or theft incident. Additionally, Yulu has deployed a team of “bike-marshals” who ensure strong consequence-management actions when they catch someone doing wrong with its fleet.We have a penalty system for users who abuse the vehicles or for non compliance with our riding policy while riding.
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 time
How many Yulu Zones are there in metros and what are your plans to scale it up in coming years?
Yulu has developed a holistic ecosystem for ride-sharing, by collaborating with OEMs, multiple corporates, co-working spaces, co-living spaces, government authorities, and metro authorities, to provide end to end mobility solutions to citizens across locations. Currently operating in 80 Pincodes with 2500 Yulu Zones, 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.
Has the Covid19 pandemic affected the micro-mobility business?
It is worth noting that when the Indian government started advocating social distancing in late February, traffic on the roads reduced by almost 90%, while we saw only a 10% – 15% drop in daily Yulu rides. This indicates that most consumers inherently consider platforms such as Yulu to be a safe commute option in the city. We did our bit by regularly sanitizing Yulu vehicles across cities to ensure that every Yulu ride was safe.
During the nation wide lockdown, Yulu stepped up to to support home delivery of essential goods.We partnered with several e-commerce and hyper-local delivery segments to ensure the supply of essential goods to the citizens who are stranded in their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown. Yulu enabled the delivery of everyday essentials for companies such as BigBasket, Licious, Dunzo, Medlife, Lalamove, AutoBrix, etc. We utilized our manpower and fleet of e- vehicles- Miracle, to fulfill the delivery of essential needs arising due to nationwide lockdown.
Post the lockdown we resumed our regular operations witnessing a huge surge in demand and to make the life of daily commuters easier during this time of the lockdown, we have introduced the Long Term Rental plan also.
What has been the response to the safe and sanitized commute solution for your users?
As we transcend towards the new normal, there is a surge in the demand of solo and sanitized mobility solutions. Yulu is uniquely positioned for micro-mobility. As we operate with single-passenger vehicles with natural social distance and minimal human interaction while commuting.We are witnessing a V shape recovery with 1.6X growth in the percentage of new users and a 50% increase in the distance, as well as usage time.
One of the biggest advantages that Yulu Miracle has over other rental bikes is its small form factor and citizens’ safety is Yulu’s topmost priority hence, we follow a Technology-Assisted Sanitization 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.
Can you share more about the IoT technology in Move/Miracle?
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.
Published in Telematics Wire