Yulu began by offering IoT-based bicycle sharing, and now has EVs resolve first and last-mile connectivity problems, Amit Gupta, Co-founder of Yulu, tells YourStory about the Yulu Miracle and why it’s not on the road in other cities yet.Debolina Biswas
Tired of bargaining with autorickshaw drivers or of Uber’s surge pricing?
Bike-sharing platform Yulu wants to end those first and last-mile commute woes with its electric vehicles (EVs).
The startup launched its electric scooter, Yulu Miracle, in Bengaluru in the last week of February. With this, the e-bike company aims to provide a scalable, affordable, and green solution for first and last-mile, short-distance commutes.
In a video interview with YourStory, Amit Gupta, Co-founder of Yulu, delves more into how Yulu Miracle eases the everyday commute, how the startup is resolving the battery problem, and which cities the bike will travel to next.
The startup, which is operational in Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, and Bhubaneswar, launched its sharing bicycles in January 2018, to focus on an IoT (solution and address the traffic problem in cities.)
When it decided to expand, the Bengaluru-based startup initially considered offering customers petrol scooters for their commute.
“We soon realised that the city (Bengaluru) was already polluted, and we should not add to the existing problem,” Amit says. He adds that they felt that “scaling the business wouldn't be easy then.”
And that led to the launch of Yulu Miracle. Meant for one commuter, Yulu scooters have a 48-volt motor controller, a maximum speed of 25 km per hour, and require no licence or helmet for usage.
Customers need to download the Yulu application and scan the QR code to access a scooter. The in-app map then shows different Yulu Zones; they can access/park the scooter there and also lock and unlock the vehicle using the application.
A user has to pay Rs 10 to unlock the bikes and another Rs 10 for every 10 minutes spent using the bike. The user can always pause the usage, free of cost.
A single charge can take the light-weight bike (45 kg) up to 60 km.
“The user need not worry about the battery; it has a swappable Li-Ion battery,” Amit says.
Like a smartphone, the scooter interacts with the server every five minutes. This helps the team know the charge level of every Yulu Miracle being operated across the city. The moment the battery charge drops below 10 percent, Yulu's on-ground staff swap the battery. The startup has already tied up with local kiranas and mom-and-pop stores in Indiranagar to avail space for storing and charging batteries.
Team Yulu sources the Miracle scooters, unassembled, from China, but the battery is from India. Local partners help assemble these scooters.
Currently only available for renting in Bengaluru's Indiranagar, Yulu is launching its Miracles in Koramangala soon. “For the time being we are only in Bengaluru; we will soon be available in other cities that already have Yulu bicycles,” Amit says. Bengaluru has 300 bikes currently.
“From April 15 this year, we plan to launch 50 more every week,” Amit adds.