Yulu-Magna collaboration spawns new Battery-as-a-Service company
Yuma Energy to set up battery swapping infrastructure for electric two-wheelers; plans to scale up the network to 500 stations across multiple Indian cities by end-2023.
Global automotive Tier-1 giant Magna International’s major capital investment of US$ 77 million (Rs 613 crore) in Indian electric mobility service start-up Yulu, along with its investment into a new joint-venture energy company, in September 2022, has borne fruit in the form of a new battery-as-a-service (BaaS) brand – Yuma Energy.
Yuma Energy has showcased its next-generation battery charging and swapping network for electric two-wheelers in India, with 85 such stations already being set up in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi. It plans to scale up the interoperable network to 500 stations in multiple cities by end-2023.
While Yuma swap stations cater to Yulu’s e-bike fleet in these cities, it will also target other OEMs and e-mobility operators to enable reliable, convenient, and efficient access for battery swapping to their customers.
According to Matteo Del Sorbo, executive vice-president, Magna, and global lead for New Mobility, “It has been very exciting since our investment in Yulu last year, when we had also invested into a BaaS company. Today, we launch Yuma Energy – the new brand that we will be bringing forward now for our BaaS business in India.”
“We have been ramping up the deployment of our batteries both in Bengaluru and Delhi, and now also in Mumbai since September 2022, and while we have tripled the battery swapping network over the last four months, we are now gearing for expanding it to 500 stations by end of this year,” Sorbo told Autocar Professional.
“Our focus will be to start expanding within these three Tier-1 cities, and then based on demand, we will be looking at other Indian cities. These stations are going to be a combination of swap-and-charge points, as well as swap-only stations which will be fed by a centralised charging hub,” he explained.
Yulu Max (Battery Swapping & Charging) Station Lajpat Nagar Metro Station New Delhi
Yulu to expand fleet to 100,000 e-bikes by end-2023
Yulu, which is a key player in the last-mile delivery enablement segment in India by the virtue of its widespread network of connected e-bikes, is aiming to aggressively scale up its vehicle fleet to 100,000 e-bikes by the end of the calendar, and is the prime customer for Yuma Energy.
“Yulu is presently our anchor customer and their focus is on last-mile delivery as well as personal and shared-mobility platforms. As we scale our network, we will be able to offer swapping solutions to other use cases as well. We are in the process of developing that right now and are hopeful of introducing it in the near future,” Sorbo added.
“Scale and network are most important in a BaaS business and while we are fortunate to have Yulu as a high-volume anchor customer, we believe we must also provide this for other electric-two-wheelers, three-wheelers and other use cases as well,” he said.
Yuma Energy is setting up a next-gen battery charging and swapping network for electric two-wheelers in India. 85 such stations are being set up in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi.
With these new swap stations, Yuma Energy has introduced what it calls its next-generation 48V, lithium-ion-phosphate (LFP) cell battery which is being assembled in India, in Pune. While volumes and scale will determine opportunities for cell manufacturers to localise lithium-ion cells in the country, Yuma Energy says it is constantly working on improving the efficiency and cost competitiveness of its batteries, “and that entire work is being done right here in Bengaluru.”
In terms of standardisation of batteries for interoperability, Sorbo said that Yuma Energy is closely working with its potential customers. “By working with our customers and partners, we feel we will have the right solution that gives flexibility to their vehicle’s end design, while taking advantage of Yuma Energy’s wide network. Once that is in place, we will be able to offer tremendous opportunities to our customers,” he signed off.
According to Amit Gupta, co-founder and CEO, Yulu said, “This is a very special moment as Yuma Energy starts its journey with the launch of its BaaS network. We are excited to see Yuma stations support Yulu Mobility’s needs and opens to more OEMs and mobility partners, offering their customers reliable and efficient access to energy.”
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