With car sharing becoming the go-to mode of transportation for lot of people in urban India, Uber has decided it’s time to look at the electric two-wheeler space now. For this, the cab aggregator has joined hands with startup called Yulu, which offers electric scooters on rentals to consumers.
Last mile connectivity is seen as a major business challenge for cab and bike startups, so it’s hardly surprising to see Uber show interest. Especially, after Ola has done a similar tie up with company called Vogo, also dealing in scooter rentals in the country.
But the prospect of electric scooters is daunting for businesses in the country, mostly because of the lack of infrastructure, ie charging points and dedicated slots to keep these scooters.
Yulu offers dock-less, lithium-powered scooters for short distance, meant for last-mile connectivity with maximum speed up to 25km/hr. Interestingly, you don't need a license or helmet to ride Yulu scooters.
But unlike cabs, Uber and Ola will have to bear the cost of owning these cycles/scooters, something which didn’t turn out feasible for startups like these in China.
India’s two-wheeler demand is much higher than for cars, and both Ola and Uber have offered localised bike-taxi services in some parts of the country, which is available nowhere else in the world.
With Yulu and Vogo, these companies are trying to solve the last mile connectivity issue, and cater to a userbase that isn’t looking to ride for long distances. As is the case in this segment, Uber’s Yulu service will be available to its users in Bengaluru for now, and we’re hopeful that other cities also become part of this project.
Uber hasn’t revealed the prices for those renting Yulu scooters, and reports don’t even highlight whether the company has invested in the start up and if so, what kind of arrangement it will be.