Global giant Ofo is also planning to enter the India market in the first half of 2018, but it is concerned about the civic behaviour in the country
Bangalore-based self-drive car rental startup Zoomcar today announced the launch of PEDL, a technology-enabled cycle sharing service, days after Chinese giant Ofo‘s plans to enter India hit the headlines.
With PEDL, Zoomcar aims to provide individuals an environment-friendly cycle-sharing service for short trips around the city. It will primarily serve local use cases such as grocery shopping, errand running, and last-mile commuting.
After several weeks in pilot, PEDL has rolled out over 500 cycles in three cities – Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.
According to Zoomcar, which is backed by the likes of automotive giant Ford, PEDL was designed to complement Zoomcar’s existing car-sharing business through serving an additional part of the personal transportation stack. PEDL will be present every 50-100 meters in a city. Zoomcar expects to cross 10,000 cycles on road in 2017 with much larger expansion plans to follow in 2018.
Greg Moran, CEO and Co-founder, Zoomcar, said: “With the launch of our pathbreaking PEDL service, we are officially extending the Zoomcar platform into the realm of multi-modal urban mobility. There will also be some very special benefit PEDL benefits for our 3 million-plus existing Zoomcar customer base.”
“In recent times, we’ve observed a huge market gap for trips shorter than 5 kms and we firmly believe that the cycle 2.0 is best positioned to serve these use cases. PEDL strongly compliments our core car sharing service as we continue to make a meaningful contribution to air quality improvement across Indian cities. At present, we’re speaking to various governmental bodies to craft policies and design urban infrastructure that will help ensure the responsible propagation of dockless cycle sharing across the country,” Moran added.
PEDL cycles come with various unique features including custom designed aluminum alloy frames and drum brakes, anti-slip chains, airless solid tyres, and height adjustable seats. These cycles are designed to support 24-plus months of intensive use.
The cycles are built with smart locks which are easily unlocked using a QR code. PEDL’s IoT stack is an extension of Zoomcar’s Cadabra IoT platform and includes real-time GPS tracking, solar battery charging, and built-in alarms.
Each cycle also comes outfitted with a multipurpose basket.
The process of using a PEDL is simple: Just walk up to a PEDL location, pay via Paytm, and drop the cycle off when done at any of the PEDL locations. PEDL cycles are priced at INR 10 per half an hour. Limited time launch promotions are currently running in select areas.
Zoomcar was founded in 2013 by US entrepreneurs Moran and David Back. Back quit the company last year. It is basically a self-drive car rental company that allows users to rent cars by the hour, day, week or month. Zoomcar offers a wide variety of cars for self-drive, ranging from hatchbacks to SUVs to luxury vehicles. It is currently operating across 27 cities.
In late 2016, Zoomcar raised an undisclosed sum from Chinese VC firm Cyber Carrier.
As per a report by The Economic Times, Ofo, which is currently operating in more than 25 locations, including Singapore and Thailand in Southeast Asia, has plans to foray into India in the first half of 2018. The Beijing-headquartered company is already carrying out extensive ground research in India and examining the government policies and permissions required for foreign transportation businesses to operate, one of the sources told the publication.
However, Ofo is concerned about the civic behaviour in India. “There is a chance of the bikes being sabotaged or stolen. So Ofo is presently looking at Indian metros and considering targeting young professionals or the middle or upper middle-class sections where literacy isn’t a concern and environmental sustainability is appreciated,” a source told ET.
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