Magna International, a Canadian mobility technology company that builds sensor-based automotive systems such as driver monitoring systems and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), is entering the micromobility market. The company has invested $77 million in Yulu, an Indian shared micromobility operator, and plans to jointly launch a battery-swapping service company.
Magna’s investment is part of Yulu’s $83 million Series B in which Bajaj Auto also participated. Along with the funding, Magna will take a seat on Yulu’s board of directors. Yulu’s latest round will help the company expand to 15 more cities over the next 18 months and potentially outside of India in the future, according to Magna.
“Micromobility represents a great opportunity for additional growth for Magna, and joining forces with Yulu helps us expand our business in this fast-growing sector,” Matteo Del Sorbo, Magna’s executive vice president and global head of new mobility for Magna, said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Magna acquired the technology, IP and assets of Optimus Rideautonomous shuttle company to further refine its ADAS offerings.
The new battery replacement company is currently registered as Yulu Energy, already has 200 employees and is based in Bangalore, according to Magna. The mobility tech giant says it will be Yulu’s exclusive partner for battery swaps and will build the necessary infrastructure for “millions of swaps per week”.
Magna says it intends to use Yulu’s strong market position and network in India to grow Yulu Energy, which the company describes as a Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) company. However, it is unclear whether Yulu Energy will be modeled after Taiwan’s Gogoro, which has a growing battery-swapping network that serves private users with their own electric two-wheelers. Given that Yulu has about 10,000 electric two-wheelers across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, it is possible that Yulu Energy could cater to the shared mobility market.
“We can clearly see a significant growth opportunity for Yulu in both BaaS and [Mobility-as-a-Service] business in the next three to four years,” Yulu co-founder and CEO Amit Gupta said. “As the market leader in electric mobility, with a proven business model built on positive unit economics, our focus will now be to create a stable and flexible supply chain and scale our operations.”
Neither Magna nor Yulu responded in time to TechCrunch’s request for more information.