Last-mile connectivity for intra-city movement has been one of the most challenging aspects of mobility access in India. Many micro-mobility companies across the country have been trying to address this through two-wheeler rentals e.g. eBikeGo, Yulu, Bounce, Vogo etc to name a few. Notably, some of these companies have a completely electric fleet, while others are adopting to e-mobility and plan to transition a large part of their fleet to electric in months to come. In addition to personal mobility, use cases of lightweight parcel delivery (e.g. home delivery of food) are also suited for e2W.
We caught up with Ashish Aggarwal of Delhi based e2W rentals company – Vayu to understand the use cases for electric scooter rentals. Launched in Feb 2020, Vayu operates a fleet of 200 low-speed electric scooters in Delhi. These custom made scooters come with a removable battery that users can carry home and recharge.
Rentals are an excellent way for consumers to experience the new tech without a long term commitment or huge investment into an asset. “EVs are still emerging and stable products are not in the market yet. Rentals are a great way for people to be initiated into EVs and they can buy one once they are more confident and their use case is clear to them”, says Ashish.
Popular use cases for Vayu’s electric 2W fleet
1. At the time of COVID breakout earlier this year, the start-up launched long term rental plans to offer a safe and affordable personal mobility option and saw immediate uptake by essential services e.g. health staff and office goers in government & private offices and embassies. Similar plans were launched by other micro-mobility services providers like Yulu to minimise the ‘shared’ part of their mobility service.
2. As COVID is tapering off, Vayu has found two major segments in the B2B space adopting the rental model – i.e. e-commerce delivery personnel (Zomato, Swiggy) and small businesses who rent our scooters to make their daily deliveries, collections or other sundry works.
3. In the B2C space, people who have a long daily commute but don’t have access to direct metro routes are the largest takers of their scooter rental plans. “Majority of the B2C customers are small business owners, contractors etc using the vehicles for personal commute”, shares Ashish Aggarwal.
Low-speed electric 2Ws do not have registration or license requirements and their low top speed is not much of a hindrance in urban hyperlocal delivery space that generally uses busy roads and lanes.
When asked about low-speed vehicles’ suitability for applications like food delivery, Ashish shared that the distance for a food delivery order is 5-7 km on average, and the time of road is a fraction of the whole delivery time that also includes the time to process the order, food preparation and pick up time.
The economic incentives of e-mobility make business sense as delivery guys working for food delivery or small parcel delivery companies who are short on capital for their own vehicle, can now rent e-scooters and generate substantially more income. As compared to purchasing a petrol vehicle, a rented electric vehicle leads to sizable monthly savings for the customers as well.
Vayu offers plans based on customer requirements that vary from weekly, monthly, quarterly and half-yearly engagements and have found that a lot of customers start with weekly trials and move over to 3 & 6 monthly plans thereafter. The company also provides roadside assistance on their fleet and offers to handle any complaint in Delhi within 2 hours. Scooters are custom assembled and offer a robust performance, taking the cost of Vayu scooters higher than off-the-shelf products available for retail at the moment.
Talking about the range offered by their vehicles, Ashish shares – “Our scooters come with a swappable battery pack that provides a range of 70 km. We have put in place an energy-efficient controller to deliver on the range promise. Regular tips like maintaining tyre pressure, and improvements in driving style (i.e. gradual acceleration and less braking) go a long way in getting the best range of any EV. Our vehicles are running within cities for up to 100 km using either dual batteries or add on charging during the day”.
Going forward, Vayu seeks to add high-speed electric scooters to its fleet, however, Delhi does not allow commercial registration of high-speed scooters for rental purposes as of today. “We are advocating a policy change in this matter with the help of think tanks in the capital”, says Ashish.
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