The focus is often on electric cars when it comes down to improve the environmental compatibility of our transport system. Of course, there are much more cars on our roads than, for example, motorized two-wheel vehicles. About 200 million two-wheelers are in use worldwide. Most of them are in South-East Asia. Several electric motorbikes have been launched from different producers in the recent years. And more will of course follow.
In 2016, Gogoro, a technology company from Taiwan, will launch its Smartscooter in Europe. The European rollout of the innovative electric scooter follows the commercial rollout in Taipei mid of 2015. This was announced at the international motorcycle and scooter show in Milan (Italy).
For this purpose, Gogoro will open a so-called Gogoro Experience Boutique in Amsterdam in the first half of 2016. Other cities in Europe will follow. There, prospective customers can learn about the Gogoro Smartscooter through a gallery demonstrating technology, craftsmanship and other things. “Amsterdam is widely considered a forward thinking global leader in smart city innovation and we are excited to be welcoming Gogoro to Amsterdam as a participant in Amsterdam’s Smart City Experience Lab and as Gogoro’s first European market,” said Ger Baron, CTO at the City of Amsterdam.
The Gogoro Smartscooter and the Gogoro Energy Network were introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show beginning of 2015. It is the first electric two-wheel vehicle with swappable batteries. The Gogoro Energy Network is the associated charging station for the rechargeable batteries. Stations can be found with an App or online. The smartphone also warns the driver if the status of the battery drops to a level where it needs to be recharged. The supplier of the battery cells is the Japanese electronics corporation Panasonic. The batteries are not the property of the Smartscooter owner. A fee for a temporary use has to be paid by the owner. It includes unlimited battery swaps and roadside assistance.
Changing the two batteries under the seat can be finished within six seconds. A few simple steps are needed – Open the trunk, grab the two empty batteries, put them in any empty slots in the station and place two charged batteries back in the Smartscooter. It is faster than filling it up with petrol. And it is much more convenient than charging an integrated battery with a charger cable. Who likes to wait a long time to ride again?
With an acceleration of about 4.2 sec (0-50 km/h), a max. speed of 95 km/h, a riding range of about 100 km per battery swap and a gross weight with two batteries of 112 kg it is possible to drive with zero emissions, provided that the batteries are charged with emission free electricity.
Gogoro Smartscooter in Taipei
Taipei City (Taiwan) is the pilot market for the innovative scooter. “Taipei City and New Taipei City are taking a progressive approach to city planning and smart city urbanization,” said Horace Luke, co-founder and CEO of Gogoro. “The positive impact of this renewed effort for high-performance electric vehicles in the greater Taipei market will be felt for generations and will be a global example for what the private and public sectors can accomplish when they work together for the greater good of citizens.“ New Taipei City made a strong commitment to embrace technology and become a globally recognized leader in smart urbanization.
Consumers in Taipei can benefit from the Gogoro’s partnership with Taipei City. They can use the subsidy pool for electric vehicle purchases, a large network of the charging stations and the preferred electric vehicle parking throughout both cities. “Gogoro is a key element in New Taipei City’s plan to realize its potential as an ever growing smart city,” said Shen Hsien Chen, Deputy Mayor, New Taipei City. “We are working closely with Gogoro to build a smart energy distribution infrastructure that integrates with our new energy sharing program to give our residents a greater sense of well-being.”
Until November 2015 Gogoro sold close to 2,000 Smartscooters and deployed nearly 90 charging stations across Greater Taipei.
Gogoro was founded in 2011. Gogoro intends to enable the transformation of megacities into smart cities. The aim of its founders is to deliver consumer innovations that will improve use and distribution of energy in high populated cities. Horace Luke und Matthew Taylor are the two founders of Gogoro. They previously worked for the Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer HTC.
Smartscooter is a convenient alternative to electric vehicles with integrated batteries. It is also a green and quiet alternative to conventional vehicles. Nevertheless, some questions arise. Is the owner bound to the batteries provided by Gogoro and its future user fees? Or are there alternatives? Integrated batteries of conventional electric cars can be charged with electricity from the domestic mains supply. What can be done if there are not enough charging stations provided by Gogoro?