Originally posted on CleanTechnica
It sounds like the work of a madman. An electric scooter that can’t be plugged in? What were they thinking! Well the designers of the Gogoro were thinking that in order to make electric scooter ownership as easy as possible, they’d take plugging in out of the equation, and instead create a network of on-demand battery dealers. And it might just work.
The charging bottleneck with batteries is more pronounced on cars, sure, but it affects all electric vehicles proportionately, including scooters. But people don’t get onto a scooter for a 100+ mile scenic cruise (generally speaking), they stay hyper-local in whatever urban environment the owner inhabits. This is where Gogoro’s idea for a closed battery ecosystem comes into play.
Jointly developed with Panasonic, which builds the battery packs for the Tesla Model S, Gogoro is launching with easy-to-swap battery packs that go underneath the seat. There are two slots for batteries, if you want extra range, and a certified dispensing unit will be able to exchange your spent batteries for fully-charged ones in about six seconds. But there’s so much more to it than that.
When connected to the scooter, the battery pack actually downloads information on the vehicle, to ensure it is operating properly. The battery kiosk can then suggest service options or alert the rider to potential problems, and would be wholly-owned by Gogoro, though they are built to be installed just about anywhere. With more and more people moving back to cities, scooters will play an increasing role in everyday life. Gogoro’s solution to the battery bottleneck could give them an advantage over competitors, though it’s hardly the first time EV battery swapping has been proposed.
Worried the Gogoro might be too tame for your riding tastes? Think again. Offering a 60 MPH top speed and a 4.2 second run from 0 to 31 MPH, the all-aluminum scooter can certainly scoot out of its own way. The smartphone app that goes along with it allows you to reserve batteries and scooters, and you can download new startup, shutdown, and other sorts of nifty sounds to make your ride more unique. A subscription plan to the battery kiosks would help keep pricing comparable to an equivalent gas model, like a Vespa 946, though the 60-mile range per charge is a lot shorter than the conventional scooter can go.
But Gogoro plans to flood target cities with as many as one battery kiosk per mile, offering buyers plenty of places to swap battery packs in much less time than it takes to charge up. It makes even the three-minute Tesla battery swap program look slow in comparison.