Yulu Bikes Claims 2.5 Times Growth During Lockdown

Yulu Bikes Claims 2.5 Times Growth During Lockdown

When businesses all across the country suffered due to Covid-19 imposed lockdowns, one electric mobility company claims it grew , and played its part in helping covid warriors. We are talking about Yulu bikes, that enables urban mobility across public and private modes of transport seamless, shared, and sustainable, through its user-friendly mobile app. We interviewed the CEO of Yulu Bikes, Mr. Amit Gupta to dig deep about their business and how they didn’t stop working even in the lockdown.

Yulu’s CEO Amit Gupta

Amit Gupta, CEO, Yulu Bikes

Yulu brought a European concept to India but localized as per the Indian market. How did you move from Concept to Product design and adapt it for Indian consumers?  

The real reason behind that was, we were problem-focused, from day one we were very clear that Yulu is not a regular scooter or cycle company. We tried to move people from one point to another in a most efficient, affordable, and sustainable manner. 

Our journey was started with a Bicycle and that was probably the most obvious choice. Very quickly we realized that bicycles are not good for people to use for five kilometers of a journey that too daily, and knowing the weather conditions in India, it was not serving the purpose. And that’s where the thought of electric bikes came into the picture. We had to make a lot of customizations for our solution set for India, for example, there was no suitable vehicle and we ended up building one, there were no battery packs so we co-developed it with partners in India. We created this whole network of vehicles, batteries, and charging stations. And also, we have positively contributed to policymaking. 

How does Yulu become the first to set up its own charging infrastructure ?

We were very clear that charging infrastructure is not someone else’s problem, we thought that what if we need to create a distributed charging station network, what are the constraints that we are dealing with. 

We thought that every place has a 15 A(ampere) power plug point, where we can just plug our solution and the charging can happen. Hence, we created a charging station that now works at every place where a 15 A power plug point is present, and we built our solution around that. In one go we can charge 12 batteries, there is an IoT (internet of things) hardware so that we can know which place has how many batteries. My operational team can locate the charging stations, they can go replace the batteries. It works like an ATM.

How does Yulu helping citizens save  carbon emissions as a Public Utility Vehicle (PUV)?

We raised a question in public that, is traveling in fuel driven vehicle really the most efficient way? It is not only causing a lot of money but their time and the type of footprint it is leaving for the environment. I think that is a big force behind changing perception and cultural habits related to mobility within people’s minds. This has been helping us now when we say that you have an option which is not only faster and cheaper but also environment friendly. and that’s how we have been able to convert a lot of miles into 100 percent carbon-free which were damaging the environment earlier. 

How did YULU deal with the Pandemic. What was the impact of COVID-19 on the business? 

We were asked to shut down the services during the country-wide lockdown and suddenly the business came down to zero. But interestingly after two weeks of the lockdown, we started getting calls from a lot of front line covid warriors, financial services, etc. So, we ended up creating a covid warrior pack, where these guys were able to take Yulu service and we found a way to deliver to them, and we also gave them the charger so that they don’t need to get worried about who will come and swap the battery. Also, a bunch of our vehicles was given to the delivery guys for groceries and medicines. Around 20-30 percent of our vehicles were used in that, but when we were allowed to open in lockdown 2.0, our service showed a quick recovery. 

When most of the mobility companies across the globe were struggling with their revival of business, Yulu has grown 2.5 times in terms of the number of the fleet as well as revenue. We are back with full force in our business. 

So Yulu has effectively become a B2G segment offering?  

The vehicle which we are using is legally a cycle. It goes below 25 Km/h of speed, our first avatar was a cycle only hence, we never needed any permission. But we believed that the model of association with the city is an important one, even if you don’t require permission. The fact that you show up and meet the policymakers and come to help citizens then you will get all the support and appreciation. 

We also get a lot of support from the authorities, for instance, the police department helps us not only to prevent our bikes to get stolen but we have also been asked to create dedicated bike links. In many cities, we have been asked to create dedicated bike links for hundreds of kilometers. Authorities have brought up incentives for people to use infrastructures like ours. 

What are your plans for expansion? Are you thinking of going for big vehicles? 

Currently, we have an electric mobility fleet of almost 10,000 vehicles along with around 8,000 pedal cycles. We are looking to get at least a fleet of 50,000 electric vehicles by the end of this year. Right now we have two models, we are planning to reach around 50 cities within the next two to three years. We are also looking up to go beyond India as well. We may introduce some products like a high-speed scooter sometime this year. 

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Bhoomika Singh

Bhoomika is a science graduate, with a strong interest in seeing how technology can impact the environment. She loves covering the intersection of technology, environment, and the positive impact it can have on the world accordingly.