After launching its Bajaj Chetak Electric, two-wheeler giant Bajaj Auto is now looking to design and manufacture a low-cost electric bike for the bike rental startup Yulu as per a Moneycontrol report. Bajaj Auto has already made an investment of $8 million in Yulu and the association will be taken to a next level by becoming a major supplier of the vehicles Yulu needs.
Yulu is already importing its requirement of electric bikes from China and is paying around $600 per vehicle. This converts to around Rs 40,000+ when finally assembled (the bikes are being brought in knocked down condition and assembled by Yulu in India) This arrangement with Bajaj Auto is aimed at bringing this cost down to the region of Rs30,000 to Rs 35,000.
For Bajaj, this could be a huge challenge since its Bajaj Chetak Electric scooter is priced around Rs 1 lalk and to build an alternative at a third of this price will require a lot of effort. The current thinking is the vehicle could be a single-seater and run at a low power. Even the vehicles currently being used by Yulu are not very high on power. They come fitted with a 48Volt motor that enables a maximum speed of 25Kmph. On one full charge the bike can run around 60kms. They have 4,000 of these bikes currently and the startup wants to increase this number to 100,000 by the end of this calendar year 2020.
Yulu’s rental model is it charges Rs 10 per hour of ride. It operates in limited geography in just 4-5 cities now. They however see a huge demand in the sector.
Besides Bajaj Auto, the other key investors in Yulu include Blume Ventures, Wavemaker Partners and 3one4 Capital. Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and InMobi’s Naveen Tewari have also invested in the startup.