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E-vehicle startup Yulu gets $82M for fleet expansion, battery network

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Electric vehicle startup, Yulu, has secured $82 million in funding. The company will use the money for its expansion plans.

YuluBikes, which rents out small electric two-wheelers, announced on Monday that it has raised $82 million (roughly Rs 653 crore) in funding for its expansion plans from investors led by Canada’s Magna.

Existing investors such as Bajaj Auto contributed to the $77 million funding round led by automotive parts manufacturer Magna.

The funds will be used to deploy more bikes and to set up a battery-swapping network in the country in collaboration with Magna, according to Amit Gupta, cofounder of Bengaluru-based Yulu.

Yulu’s two-wheelers can be rented for short periods of time via the company’s mobile app.

Blue two-wheelers with a single seat have become common in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. The company intends to expand its rental fleet from around 10,000 two-wheelers to over 100,000 two-wheelers.

According to Gupta, the company will raise debt to meet additional capital requirements in order to reach that scale.

Yulu has collaborated with Bajaj Auto to produce these vehicles. As a temporary solution for battery swapping, Magna and Yulu will form a new company called Yulu Energy.

Yulu and Magna plan to use this company to make the shared mobility company’s existing battery-swapping and charging network available to other businesses and the general public.

The company intends to build a network of over 500 charging stations over the next 12 months. Companies interested in using this network must conform to Yulu’s battery and charging standards. According to Gupta, who also serves as the company’s CEO, the company intends to implement an additional charging standard in the future to improve usability across other brands of electric vehicles.

Yulu claims that expanding the fleet and installing battery swap stations will result in a positive cash flow.

Gupta said in a press release, “Over the next three to four years, we clearly see a 100 (fold) growth opportunity for Yulu in both the BaaS and MaaS businesses.”

Battery-as-a-service is abbreviated as BaaS, and mobility-as-a-service is abbreviated as MaaS.

“We will go deeper and denser in our existing markets while also exploring new areas and providing excellent customer service,” he said. According to Magna’s executive vice president, Matteo Del Sorbo, this will be a significant investment in India’s electric mobility segment.

“Magna is investing significantly in mobility as well as the battery-as-a-service company that we are establishing. This is our entry into the Indian market, and we believe Yulu gives us a competitive advantage.” he said.

Yulu and Bajaj Auto have strategic alliances in product design, technology platforms, engineering processes, and manufacturing.

By the end of 2022, the next generation of electric two-wheelers will be manufactured at Bajaj’s Pune plant.

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