Is this the beginning of the electric revolution?
From some of the former brains at HTC comes Gogoro, a new electric scooter concept that has been revolutionising scooter travel in Taiwan. What makes Gogoro so different? Swappable batteries and hundreds of docking stations.
At the core of Gogoro is the SmartScooter – an electric scooter than looks like a regular scooter but is fully connected to a smart app. Want to lock it and leave it? Use the app. Want to open the seat? Use the app. Each scooter has two 9kg batteries under the seat that, when fully charged, give it a range of 100km. It weighs 112kg fully loaded and the electric motor puts out 6,400w giving it a top speed of 95kph. Want to know the really smart bit? It’s the battery exchange program. Once charge indictor on the dash shows you running low on juice, just open the app and find the nearest docking station (there are 270 in Taiwan already) to swap the battery.
Once you arrive, take your batteries out and pop them in the docking station. The station is connected to the cloud, so it will recognise you from the batteries and give you a host of information about your journeys thus far, and then present you with two new batteries to get you back on your way. If you’re worried about there not being enough batteries, you can use the app to reserve them ahead of your arrival. With a bit of forward planning, there’s nothing stopping you riding hundreds of miles in a day.
Gogoro have been operating in Taiwan for a little over 18 months and they have already sold over 15,000 SmartScooters with those owners logging over 3 million km. The pricing structure is interesting too: a SmartScooter currently costs approximately $3000 in Taiwan and then you pay a monthly subscription from $10-30 to cover the batteries. The price varies on mileage, so the more you ride, the more you pay, but Gogoro remain the owners of the batteries meaning you don’t have to worry about servicing.
Gogoro have recently expanded to Berlin, where they currently have a fleet of 200 scooters on a sharing system not too dissimilar to ZipCar. Gogoro are intending to come to the UK but could not give a definite date other than “soon”.
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