Innovative youngster propels the idea of car rentals

After completing his Bachelors in Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Suyagya Agrawal, came home for the Christmas holidays. Sitting alongside his father at the dinner table, Agrawal, had a proposition ‘to set up India’s first membership-based self-driven car rental services’.

“When I was in the United States I was a frequent user of Zipcar service. People can rent a car and use it as long as they need it without actually owning it, thus saving them the hassle of going through lengthy process of acquiring loans and so on,” Agrawal
told Metrolife.

After his studies, he started working at the headquarters of Cisco Systems in San Jose.However, after discussing his proposal with his father, he had his eyes set on the new business project, waiting for the opportune time to return.

In April 2013, he returned to the Capital and what followed, for more than a year, was a rigorous market research on cab services in Delhi. Finally in June this year, Agrawal along with his father Vinod, launched their operation and named it MiCar.

“The idea is that customers get to self-drive a car of their choice for as much time as they want, without going through any hassle of ownership, simply by availing a membership. Once membership is acquired, members are allowed to book cars from multiple locations and for as low as an hour.

The members only pay for what they use,” Agrawal said.
Six months later, MiCar, has 50 vehicles which include compact, sedan and SUV and is available in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida.

“Car is a depreciating asset and with such a large chunk of our population belonging to the middle class, economics play a major role during shopping. This goes for cars as well. Besides, many people get to use a new car including luxury ones,” he said.

“People are taking loans and paying heavy EMIs for cars. Consider this, we pay EMI to drive around in a car. Basically to use a car but in the same instance we are paying for it when we don’t use it like when they are parked. We are propelling an idea where in people will pay for the exact time they use a car. Not a rupee more,” said Agrawal.
 
According to MiCar’s website, micar.co.in, the cost of membership is within Rs 2,000 and the basic requirements include having a debit/credit card, a driving licence, valid proof of residence and the member be of minimum 23 years of age.

While maintaining that the business model is strictly to adhere to the growing demand of vehicles Agrawal added that his vision of transportation in India is about fewer cars on the roads.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of cars we use. The condition of transport in India is not an impressive one. If ideas of car

sharing is popularised among the masses, many of the problems that we face today while travelling might reduce marginally,” the 25-year-old Agrawal said.
“We want to change the definition of car ownership,” he added.

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