Ashish Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, VA-YU

Ashish Aggarwal has been a game-changer and leader in the EV industry. He founded VA-YU in 2019 and since then, under his leadership, VA-YU has grown rapidly. When it comes to being a pioneer in this industry, his dynamic personality has helped build his profile as an entrepreneur. He has undertaken various initiatives in the EV sector and environment welfare as well. Ashish has 15+ years of experience in strategy and operation across 40+ countries with Heineken NV, ICICI UK and is the ex-founder of Goldengate Developers. He completed his MBA from IIM Calcutta and Bachelor of Engineering in DCE, Delhi.

 

Just like telecom was the revolution of the last decade, mobility is the revolution for the next decade. While telecom empowered us to communicate with the world, mobility will empower us to access places and thereby create opportunities for the masses in India to prosper. Further on mobility is evolving at a rapid pace with physical developments like roads, bridges, trains, metro networks etc. as well as disruptions like shared mobility (Uber, Ola etc.), electric vehicles, micro mobility (last mile connectivity), autonomous driving etc. It plays a pivotal role for the progress, livelihood and quality of life of our population at large. 

The way we move is evolving from a product to a service, i.e. for last 70 to 100 years we had to buy a car or a two wheeler to move whereas now you can take an Uber or an Ola or rent a Zoom car in order to move. These services are however limited to cars and are targeted at well-heeled consumers. However, India is also home to over 20 crore 2 wheelers, i.e. every seventh person in India uses a two-wheeler. A majority of these people cannot drive a car, nor can afford it. For this large population there has been no innovation in how these two wheelers are owned or how they are maintained. 

Further on shared mobility is a long-term trend. The younger generation of our country is very mobile with respect to the city that they live in, the job that they do and the place that they stay in, therefore there commuting needs are very uncertain. In fact as per Niti Aayog about 35% of all passenger miles will be on shared transport by 2030 and 50% by 2040. 

Companies like VA-YU are stepping in to disrupt this space by providing electric two wheelers to users without a need for them to buy it or to worry about maintenances, technology, warranty, insurance etc. Renting an EV has a lot of advantages and at the same time it alleviates a number of issues that users are facing in switching to EV’s.

Electric vehicles are a rapidly evolving technology a lot of people are skeptical to invest in purchasing an EV only to see it become obsolete in 1 or 2 years’ time. Renting of EV frees the user from this risk and at the same time, the user is free to upgrade to the latest model, whenever he or she wishes. The user does not have to worry about resale values, battery replacement or any such problems as well.

Renting an EV is also very convenient as compared to the whole buying process. There is no need to visit multiple showrooms, gather reviews, select a model, negotiate the price, do lengthy paper work etc. Instead with rentals everything happens over the app, payments are flexible, the vehicle is home delivered and there are no hassles of any kind. Further more the rental company makes sure to provide the most capable and most reliable vehicles to the consumers. 

One of the biggest hindrances for electric vehicles is the high upfront cost as compared to petrol vehicles. Rentals mitigate this by offering these scooters at a very low upfront cost starting from as little at two thousand rupees. The additional burden of loans, risk of credit downgrade etc. are also not there with rental of Ev’s. Further on the per km cost savings of EV’s are already well known and that saving is also pocketed by the user.

Since these vehicles are invariably tied with people’s job or business, they can not afford any downtime with these vehicles and rental companies can make users life much easier by providing door step repairs and maintenances, timely repairs and also by replacing vehicles from their pool of vehicles. With purchasing an EV there are further challenges as repair shops for EV’s are very few and shortages of spare parts with dealers is very common.

These rentals also take care of the whole life cycle of the EV and are all inclusive of Insurance costs, maintenance costs, delivery costs etc. In case of any major accident, flooding theft etc., the user’s liability is only limited to the first thousand rupees and the user does not have to worry about claims, surveys etc. The users are also insured to personal injury for upto Rs. 5 lacs each.

These EV rentals cater to a wide variety of customers, and there are different drivers behind the demand from different sectors. B2B customers like food delivery, grocery delivery, medicine delivery etc. are undergoing a massive boom due to increase in home deliveries ever since the covid crisis. Along with the government mandate to move delivery services to EV’s, these companies also want to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their operational costs. EV rentals offers them a one stop end to end solution for fleet maintenance, vehicle tracking, insurance, repairs etc., thus saving them time and money.

For the B2C sectors, Renting Ev’s is a blessing in disguise. It gives them a flavour of using an EV without a large commitment and at the same time offers flexibility to rent and return anytime. For example if I am on vacation or business trip for two weeks, I can return the vehicle, or if I am moving from Delhi to Pune, I can return the vehicle in Delhi and pick another one in Pune or if suddenly a lockdown happens, I can return the vehicle. Such flexibilities are not possible with an own vehicle.

Renting option is also handy for SME’s, as they can control costs much more easily than with a petrol vehicle. Also seasonal businesses can pick up extra vehicles during high demand and return when their business is down and most importantly they are able to derive operational savings of an electric vehicle without needing to spend large capital amounts upfronts to buy one. Especially for businesses where their employee drives the vehicle, the freedom from maintenance hassles and freedom from disruption of business because of breakdown and maintenances is an invaluable value addition.

All in all the rental of EV’s is playing a very pivotal role in India’s shift to EV’s. Because it is creating the confidence in the user’s mindset of the utility of EV’s. At the same time, the EV rental companies are creating a large pool of EV users who are able to join the bandwagon without a large upfront commitment.

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