Do you want to buy an electric scooter but don’t know what to do with your old IC-engine Honda Activa? CredR, a Bengaluru-based omnichannel consumer brand for buying and selling used two-wheelers, now offers customers the choice to liquidate their old two-wheeler and swap it for a brand new electric two-wheeler at a price lower than its original cost. Late last month, the Bengaluru firm announced its latest collaboration with an electric vehicle startup, the Delhi-based Crayon Motors. With this collaboration, users can exchange any petrol-based two-wheeler for a Crayon Motors electric bike. (Representational Image above courtesy Cavan-Images/Shutterstock.com /Indian Autos Blog)
While exchanging the old two-wheeler, CredR will offer instant quotes for old petrol scooters, thus reducing the upfront cost of Crayon Motors e-bikes.
“Users will be provided with convenience and hassle-free exchange of used two-wheelers for electric bikes and receive their new vehicle within days. An instant price quote/ estimate will be generated through the proprietary pricing application powered by CredR. To complete the transaction, CredR will verify the documents and the health of the petrol version of the two-wheeler. The exchange price will then be adjusted against the final cost of the new Crayon Motors electric two-wheeler,” notes a press release issued by CredR.
This specific ‘hassle-free exchange program with Crayon Motors is only applicable in Delhi-NCR and Jaipur for now, but there are plans to expand this to Bengaluru and Pune.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the first electric vehicle venture CredR have collaborated with. In the past 12 months, they have onboarded multiple electric two-wheeler brands like Ather Energy, Ampere, Hero Electric, BLive, Okinawa, Gemopai, Tech Electra, Crayon Motors and many more.
Easing The Transition to Electric
Founded in 2014 by Nikhil Jain and Sasidhar Nandigam, CredR entered the Indian market to change the way consumers bought and sold used two-wheelers. For decades, they felt that consumers had been cheated by informal second-hand dealers on price, quality, lack of proper documentation, financing, insurance, guarantees and warranties.
“In simple terms, our vision is to replicate the same customer experience you get while buying a new bike into the used bike category,” says Sasidhar Nandigam, Chief Strategic Officer at CredR, in a conversation with The Better India.
One of the core aspects of their business is figuring out how CredR can help customers buy new bikes and liquidate their old ones. For the past four to five years, they’ve been doing this, working with all the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as exclusive partners.
At the start of the first COVID-19 wave, they extended the same relationship they shared with IC-engine two-wheeler brands to electric bike manufacturers. Starting with Ather Energy, they have gone on to sign up many of the major e-bike brands in India.
“We want the EV ecosystem in India to flourish. Many customers used to come to us saying they wanted to buy a new electric scooter or bike but didn’t know how to get rid of their old Royal Enfields? These customers don’t want to step into the bylanes of second-hand dealer shops, not knowing what they’re getting in terms of price and quality. The moment you build in the sense of convenience into these sectors, automatically, the adoption rate of EV increases. It’s a question of creating transparency and trust in the entire process. Also, EV consumers are more sophisticated than others because they’re buying a concept and not necessarily a product. Their expectation of the transaction flow is much more sophisticated than other customers. An Ather Energy customer would expect the entire exchange process to happen in seconds. It challenges us because it makes us much more competitive in the way we develop our technology and adopt it,” says Sasidhar.
How Do You Exchange Your Old Scooter For an EV?
The transaction happens at two levels.
One, you visit their website, click on the ‘Exchange Your Bike’ bar, select the city of your choice and select the brand of the new e-bike you’re looking to buy (for e.g. Ather Energy or Crayon). You’re then asked to submit your basic details like name, mobile phone number and pin code, following which you’ll get a request to fill an OTP generated on your phone.
After this process, you’ll arrive at a page where you can select the bike and the model you want to sell, select the year you bought it in and then you’ll be provided with an instant quote for the Ather or Crayon vehicle through CredR’s proprietary pricing application.
Once the price is agreed upon, you get a time slot for bike pick up and inspection, and then you confirm the transaction. If you disagree with the price, you’ll get a call from CredR asking what they can do. Typically, most customers disagree with the price quoted by CredR, but soon fall into the price bucket after the call, although not everyone is satisfied.
Another way of going about this transaction is visiting a Crayon Motors showroom, where the sales executive has the CredR mobile app. This app will capture all the 30-40 parameters of the scooter you want to sell, and this information gets pushed into CredR’s web servers.
Within a span of 10-15 seconds, you’ll get a response about the price you can get for the new Crayon e-bike. If the customer agrees to the price, they will sell their vehicle to CredR and end up with a new Crayon Motor e-bike lower than the upfront price.
“Let’s say the new e-bike is priced at Rs 1,00,000, and your old Honda Activa costs us Rs 40,000. You’ll end up paying just Rs 60,000 to Crayon Motors for the e-bike. Though the process looks straightforward on the outside, the technical challenges are immense. It’s the data algorithm in the back end that makes the entire process seamless,” he explains.
Another reason why many customers prefer CredR over a second-hand dealer is the choice of avoiding legal hassles. There are hundreds of cases that go unreported in the media about transactions on other online marketplaces or second-hand dealerships where customers get cheated when they sell their bikes on price and quality.
More worryingly, with no emphasis on proper transfer of documentation, the bike a customer sells ends up being used in unlawful activities. The consumer who sells the bike on these online platforms or to another second dealer assumes that everything, including documentation, is taken care of on his end, which effectively is never done.
“CredR undertakes the entire liability of the documentation process. The moment you sell your bike to us, you’re completely free of all the legal encumbrances, which gives you peace of mind as a consumer,” he goes on to claim.
Dealing with COVID-19
Monthly, CredR claims that they do a few 1,000 transactions around EVs every month. Having said that, the COVID-19 situation has hurt the exchange business. However, the second-hand two-wheeler business is going through the roof, particularly in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities which don’t have a good public transport system.
Moreover, with shared mobility gone for a toss and diminishing incomes, no longer able to afford bikes off the showroom, many are going for second-hand scooters or motorbikes.
“The exchange business has slowed down a bit because they require a physical touchpoint for customers to buy a new bike. With showrooms being shut down or not being consistently open, this is something which we don’t have control over,” says Sasidhar.
The future indeed looks bright for CredR, which is backed by marquee blue-chip funds such as Eight Road Ventures (Fidelity’s proprietary investment arm), Omidyar Network, Stride Ventures, BlackSoil, AngelList, K Ganesh (GrowthStory) and various angel investors. In October 2020, it raised Rs 14.7 crore from Eight Roads Investments and ON Mauritius.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)