Gogoro Ships First Electric Scooters

2 years ago by Ted Dillard 15

Gogoro scooter

Gogoro scooter

Remember Gogoro, that electric scooter that has modular interchangeable battery packs and links to your smart phone?  Of course you do – see our specs and info. Well, according to a story on Fortune, they’re shipping.  Not just shipping one or two, but “400 pre-ordered scooters to customers in Taipei”.  What about the battery kiosks?  65 of them installed at this point…

Gogoro "family"

Gogoro “family”

The Fortune story is worth a read – especially for some observations about the parallels (and differences) between this battery-swapping scheme and the BetterPlace electric car caper that died an early death:

Because Gogoro is building an electric scooter swapping system, it has far lower costs than Better Place did. And scooter drivers remove their own batteries and replace them, which makes the system relatively easy and quick. In contrast, electric cars have to park above an automated battery swapping system and have their batteries removed from below.

Check out more on the Gogoro website, (…or maybe not.  It’s Flash intensive, and your browser may block it, if it knows what’s good for itself).  Interestingly, a lot of effort is put into telling how the performance of the bike is amazing – special racing tires, big leaning, quick off the line…  the “scooter who would be motorcycle”, once again?

Aw, heck, let’s watch the new video:

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15 responses to "Gogoro Ships First Electric Scooters"

  1. mhpr262 says:

    I’m still skeptical about this concept – an electric vehicle that you cannot charge at home? We’ll see. Maybe they can expand the concept – an electric tuk-tuk that uses four battery packs, anyone? Or an electric cargo bicycle with one pack?

    1. Dan says:

      Agreed. Owners should be able to home charge, and then only do pack swaps when necessary.

      1. mhpr262 says:

        I spend a lot of time on various EV sites and read about owner’s real life experiences. Being able to charge at home and have a “full tank” every morning seems to be the one thing for most of them that really offsets the shorter range and longer “refilliing” time compared to gas vehicles.

        1. -Drake says:

          This product was designed for Asian cities, where few people have garages to charge in, parking is limited and carrying the batteries up to your apartment is not ideal.

  2. Chip says:

    This sounds like a fairly practical city scooter which might find a market in London England.
    The earlier article with specs lists a 6.4kW motor.
    That is a lot better than the UK limit for an electric bicycle of just 250 watts. It is also below the UK maximum of 11kw for the learner-legal motorcycle class.
    The top speed of 60mph is way higher than the UK limit of 28mph to be classified as a moped.
    https://www.gov.uk/rules-motorcyclists-83-to-88/motorcycle-licence-requirements

    Can anyone work out if you can also charge at home & at work as with any normal EV?

  3. Someone out there says:

    Ok, so you own the scooter but you borrow the batteries and pay for the electricity used. It’s not a terrible idea for a scooter as it requires much less battery than a car does. Also, you then don’t have the issue of “what do you do when the battery wears out?”. I like it more than the idea of leasing your battery.

    1. protomech says:

      It sounds like the charging itself is free, you simply pay a monthly rental for the batteries.

  4. Chip, we did a profile on the Gogoro in our last print edition. Sadly it does not have any plug/cord charging capability.

    Gogoro says that’s because the scooter is targeted at urban apt dwellers that don’t have access to plugs where they park.

    I predict they will pivot and add a plug, as other scooter makers offer (also with swappable batteries). Swapping daily, or even every couple of days, with no opportunity charging, and no effortless overnight charging, is not a premium customer experience. It likely is born from the cell phone mentality of the HTC crew that founded the company and designed the scooter. It’s a viable model for cell phones (although evolving – see recent T Mobile and other cell carrier pivots). But forcing the issue on scooter drivers has never been proven. It’s a grand experiment.

    I believe the Gogoro will be a huge success. I have not ridden one yet, but from what I’ve seen in photos, videos and specs, it’s the most well designed scooters I’ve ever seen.

    I don’t ride my eMax much any more, but would probably buy a Gorgoro if they sold it in the U.S.

    See Xkuty, Boxx and Bolt for other interesting takes on medium speed two wheelers without pedals.

    1. Djoni says:

      “Gogoro says that’s because the scooter is targeted at urban apt dwellers that don’t have access to plugs where they park. ”
      Hum, doen’t look like a valid argument since the battery pack are swappable, it mean that it’s removable and that you can just pick it up to your appartment and charge it at an available outlet.
      Dough!

    2. Mike I says:

      Gogoro is very Asia-focused. I have taken many business trips to Taiwan where Gogoro is based. ICE scooters are literally everywhere, outnumbering cars probably 5:1. This is a good thing because the gridlock would be even worse if the ratio of cars was higher. Owning a car is a luxury because they dis-incentivize cars with a tax that is approximately equal to the price of the car before tax.

      I have talked to several people from Taiwan about the Gogoro concept and they agree that it is the path of least friction to EV scooters. Yes, you could remove the battery and charge it in your apartment, but you would likely have to make a second trip to do it and it’s just not convenient. If the swap kiosks are ubiquitous and the monthly fee is approximately the cost of gas for a high-mileage user, it will probably be a success. However, this business model is not well suited to the United States where a simple universally pluggable scooter is the way to go.

      Also the batteries have a DRM system, so they can only be used in Gogoro scooters, and they can only be charged in the Gogoro kiosk. This actually acts as a theft deterrent too. Scooters are commonly parked at the side of the road with little security. Making the expensive battery less attractive to steal is a good thing.

  5. For a more traditional but highly functional scooter, also very well designed, see Mahindra GenZe.

  6. michael says:

    I thought I was interested but now I’m not.

    I was looking for prices based on their design and limited press coverage but their page wouldn’t load for me past the photograph on the landing page.

    Now that I know there’s no home charging,I have no interest at all.

  7. Steven says:

    IF they were to sell or lease or rent a two battery charger that plugged in to an indoor 110v outlet, then apartment dweller, as well as people who live far from an exchange kiosk would be able to make better use of this concept.

    It would also minimum “vandalism anxiety” associated with a battery swapping kiosk out in the open.

  8. JAvier says:

    This concept can work also in EU and USA. Charging kiosks are like vending machine size, and almost every EU and US city is full of shopping centers that could have these kiosks. I guess there is some revenue for the owners of Kiosk’s emplacements, so if they are appropriately rewarded, kiosks will be ubiquitous !

  9. mhpr262 says:

    An interesting concept. Now give us an electrically assisted cargo bicycle with one battery pack, a motorcycle with three and a “Tuk-Tuk” with four packs, then you have covered everything.