In order to promote last-mile emissions-free mobility service, Uber has partnered with an electric bike sharing service, Yulu, in the Indian city of Bengaluru. The pilot project has been initiated in the southern city of Bengaluru, notoriously infamous for its bustling traffic.
According to Uber, the e-bike service would help commuters, which are most likely young professionals to beat traffic and congestion
Yulu is a dockless, lithium-powered scooter focusing on the sub-5 km first- and last-mile connectivity, the same market which Ola backed Vogo and Sequoia, Accel backed Bounce are targeting.
Founded by former inMobi top executive Amit Gupta and backed by investors including Blume Ventures, Binny Bansal, Naveen Tewari and Girish Mathrubootham, Yulu offers bicycles and electric scooters with a maximum speed of 25 km per hour, which requires no licence or helmet for usage.
“Using IoT as the backbone of the operation, these dockless bicycles can be rented seamlessly on a pay-per-use basis. Cities in India are seeing traffic get more clogged by the minute, and these micro-mobility options would go a long way in reducing traffic snarls, saving time for the riders, and reducing carbon emissions. Add to it the pleasant weather of Bengaluru, and traveling to and from the urban centers and metro stations just got a whole lot faster. Through this tie-up, Uber riders can now book e-bikes and bicycles in just a few taps”
Electric bikes holds a significant business potential, especially in a country like India. E-bikes could not only be popular among the massive young urban population in the country but also conform to the government policies that favour and promote electric mobility in public transport.
Although Uber India, hasn’t clearly stated if it has invested or acquired Yulu, but it has remained clear that the global company is very ambitious in becoming a multi-modal mobility company. Just last year, Uber acquired a New York City-based e-bike startup, Jump for an estimated $100 million after a two months pilot. It also invested in Bay Area-based electric scooter rental company Lime as part of a $335 million round.
Ola, which leads the ride-hailing market in India, has made bigger bets on e-bikes in the nation. The company, which like Uber is backed by SoftBank, invested $100 million in scooter rental startup Vogo late last year. Vogo, which operates in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, said it will use the capital to add an additional 100,000 scooters to its platform.
Vogo competes with Bounce, which offers more than 6,000 bikes. The market of two-wheelers has grown in India despite the proliferation of taxi services in the country in recent years. With major cities in India grappling with ever growing traffic congestions, the future of two-wheelers seems brighter than ever. 2019 could be the year when e-bikes gain serious momentum in the nation, Jayanth Kolla, an analyst with research firm Convergence Catalyst said.
The e-bike sharing services work in tune with public security. You simply find a bicycle near you via the mobile application, and unlock it via the QR code that would be sent from the Uber App. After riding, the user make use of the bike U Lock to lock it up and secure the bike to any public rack, based on city requirements.
“Along with being environment and traffic friendly, these self-ride e-bikes are also pocket friendly, taking into account the varying needs and budgets of the consumer,” the company said in a statement. “We understand that the push towards electrification has to be multi-modal, and the collaboration with Yulu only goes to demonstrate the intent therein.”