4/2/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Electric Scooter with Swappable Batteries Enters Pilot Testing

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Gogoro Inc. is testing an innovative electric scooter and subscription-based battery pack swap service in Taiwan.

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Gogoro Inc. is testing an innovative electric scooter and subscription-based battery pack swap service in Taiwan.

The 4-year-old, $150 million startup was launched in Taiwan by former executives of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. CEO Horace Luke is HTC's past chief innovation officer, and Chief Technology Officer Matt Taylor formerly was the phone maker's chief technologist.

Gogoro unveiled its scooter in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The test involves a fleet of 100 Gogoro Smartscooters that are being deployed in Taiwan now. The company hopes to begin selling the scooters, whose price has not been set, later this year. Users would then pay a monthly fee that gives them access to kiosks from which they can swap their vehicle's pair of depleted battery modules for a fully charged set.

The current business model does not allow owners to recharge the batteries themselves. Gogoro says it takes about six seconds to exchange the stylish modules, each of which weighs 20 lbs.

The startup partnered with Panasonic Corp. on the modules, which contain dozens of the Japanese company's 18650 cylindrical batteries. Tesla Motors Inc. uses the same devices in its own battery packs.

The scooter has an 8.6-hp liquid-cooled electric motor, maximum speed of 60 mph and a range of about 60 miles per charge.

It also features about 30 onboard sensors that monitor the bike's systems, keep track of where battery kiosks are located, calculate remaining range and and enable owners to use their smartphones to reserve fresh batteries.