While the surge in electric vehicles is creating a favourable ecosystem for the e-mobility ecosystem, what can make this sustainable without enhancing the problem of traffic congestion and passive pollution and time consumption.
Personal mobility used to be an aspiration once, and now it has become almost a necessity, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. The growing preference for personal mobility is surging the sales of personal vehicles. An increasing chunk in this segment is being attributed to electric vehicles, especially electric two-wheelers.
While the surging sales of electric vehicles are certainly boosting zero-emission mobility, isn’t it also increasing traffic congestion and eventually contributing to more pollution and time consumption indirectly? What could be the solution to this problem?
Autofintechs had a conversation with Amit Gupta, Co-Founder of YULU to discuss this along with various other aspects of electric vehicles and e-mobility.
Edited excerpts are below.
Q. Battery swapping technology is one of the most cost-effective methods for electric vehicle owners. How do you see the segment growing in India? What are the EV consumers’ responses like?
Battery-swapping emerges as a viable alternative in terms of technology and cost. It offers a similar re-fuelling experience as ICE vehicles while reducing the high upfront cost of the vehicle by 40-50%. Battery swapping will not only reduce the range anxiety of users, but it has also helped increase the efficiency in the usage of our bikes. The introduction of Yulu Max Network has helped delivery personnel, who use Yulu electric 2-wheelers, swap batteries easily in our stations with zero downtime, thus increasing the time they can spend on deliveries. The discharged batteries are charged in a controlled environment during battery-swapping, which helps to extend battery life and minimize safety concerns.
Yulu is planning to have a network of more than 2000 Max Stations in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi NCR by the end of next year. We see Max stations as a huge step forward in our mission to transition into sustainable mobility at a macro level to tap the electric vehicle industry in India.
Consumers see the long-term value of switching to electric mobility. A shift towards electric vehicles presents a lucrative opportunity for India to reduce its carbon footprint, which can be further improved by integrating renewable energy into the electric vehicle sector. Used EV batteries with approximately 70-80% of their initial capacity can be re-purposed for a second life for use in stationary applications like solar-powered battery swapping stations, and mobile energy storage applications. In India, the swapping market is predicted to generate a revenue of USD 6.1 million by 2030, exhibiting a 31.3% CAGR during the forecast period (2020–30). (Source- WriIndia.org)
Q. How is Yulu planning to expand its business over the next few years?
Yulu’s mission has always been to make urban mobility in India seamless, shareable, and sustainable; we have now expanded into other major cities in India like Mumbai and Delhi. We have partnered with civic bodies such as Bruhat Bengaluru MahanagaraPalike (BBMP), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to bring services to the customers. These partnerships gave us insights towards strategic locations to set up zones, which further strengthened our customer confidence. From March 2020 to March 2021, we registered a 2.6X increase in our revenue as we expanded our fleet size by 2.5X.
Before Covid-19’s arrival in India, 80% of our users were white-collar workers who used the service for first- and last-mile connectivity, while 20% used Yulu for leisure. In the last year, we’ve seen new user demography including students, local shop owners, women and gig workers. Yulu is at a strategic phase in our growth journey where our use case has expanded significantly from moving people to now moving goods for the last mile.
Considering the average Indian purchasing power, India is full to its brim with electric two-wheelers adoption.
With the boom in the online-to-offline economy, the number of gig workers in India has increased, but most gig workers do not have the privilege of having a driving license nor can they afford their own vehicles. We are empowering the gig workers in India by providing them with affordable lease options of Yulu electric 2-wheelers for short mile delivery of food, grocery and medicine. Yulu has grown and emerged stronger, and we plan on expanding our fleet from 10,000 to 50,000 electric 2-wheelers by the middle of next year.
Q. How do you see Mobility 2.0 with self-driven and non-licensed as the future of mobility?
Mobility 2.0, is redefining “anti-car sentiment” and citizens are welcoming more eco-friendly, sustainable and affordable means of transportation. Thus, began India’s journey towards electric mobility- a long-term solution to the rising demand for self-driven vehicles. The country is, hence, remodelling its cities with a smart set-up to incorporate the demands of the future such as green spaces and cycle lanes.
We have seen that Yulu vehicles have reduced the operating costs of delivery executives by almost 35-40%, increasing their earning potential. As an electric vehicle, Yulu also contributes to the ESG goals. Till date, Yulu has helped save 7,500 metric tons of carbon emissions.
Considering the average Indian purchasing power, India is full to its brim with electric two-wheelers adoption and is fast growing as one of the top markets in the electric vehicle ecosystem. Shared mobility is the future of last-mile mobility in India.
Q. Do you think that surge in demand for personal mobility is increasing congestion and eventually pollution and time consumption indirectly?
We strongly feel that the increasing use of private vehicles i.e. personal mobility has raised the growing demand for parking space and road network capacity in many densely populated urban areas. However, the respective state governments are incorporating mobility-on-demand systems as a remedy to the problem of limited parking space and traffic congestion because they can satisfy the existing transportation demand with fewer shared vehicles, which consequently require less parking space and limit traffic congestion seamlessly.
Q. What are the futuristic scopes of e-mobility emerging unicorns in India?
Rapid urbanisation, increasing fuel prices and rapid traffic congestion in cities have paved the way for the development of a strong shared e- mobility ecosystem. India has all the ingredients to emerge as a global leader when it comes to e-mobility. Several factors including familiarities with shared services, improving digital infrastructure, a young demographic and a vibrant entrepreneurial culture support India’s opportunity to meet transportation demand with e- mobility solutions.
Emerging e-mobility unicorns offer several potential benefits, arising from an increase in system efficiency through higher asset utilisation and better connectivity. E- mobility vehicles ‘per km’ cost is lower than private cars/ bikes and equivalent to that of three-wheelers. Therefore, the transition
e-mobility is gaining momentum. Amongst the e-shared mobility models illustrated, ride-hailing unicorns are emerging as one of the most popular models in India.