After three years of sereptitious development, a new electric scooter has been unveiled at CES 2015. Dubbed the Gogoro, this futuristic-looking scooter is the brainchild of two former HTC executives, yet unlike so many electric scooters we’ve seen pop up at trade shows over the years, Gogoro is an actual start-up which is fully funded to bring this vehicle to market.
Yet the real story here isn’t about the scooter itself — although it must be noted that the Gogora has a level of development and finish that frankly meets or surpasses anything on the market today. It isn’t even about the Gogoro’s reported stats of 60 mile range and 60+ mph speeds. The real story is in how the Gogoro is powered. Unlike most EVs, which must sit stationary and charge via their onboard charging systems, the Gogoro uses a modular battery system, and that system is the real story.
Powered by a pair of self-enclosed, bright green battery packs about the size of half-gallon milk jugs, the Gogoro doesn’t rely on home charging. Instead, Gogoro wants to bring the infrastructure to market along with the product. So instead of the fuss of a home charging system, when you get low on juice, you simply ride your Gogoro to a “GoStation” where you swap your low batteries for full ones. The batteries just pull up from under the seat, and each is light enough to be luggable from bike to station and back.
The Gogoro is aimed at the ever growing mega-cities in Asia, although company CEO Horace Luke sees this electric scooter as simply the jumping off point for a whole ecosystem of providing power for everything from vehicles to construction machinery. If two cells will run a high-performance small scooter, then perhaps eight will run a city car. In the video above, Luke draws the parallel between the Gogoro battery system and what AAs did for small consumer electronics. With the modularity built into both the product and the infrastructure that supports it, Gogoro really seems to be onto something here.
Obviously, investment in placing these charging stations in key areas is key. Gasoline has more than a hundred years head start on being conveniently located. Yet looking at Gogoro, this is one of the first systems we’ve seen that’s actually gone through the rigor of full product development and emerged as more than just a concept — more than just an academic exercise.
There’s so much more to cover, but the best thing to do is head over to The Verge and read Chris Ziegler’s fantastic rundown of this brand new scooter concept. Here’s a taste:
“Electric scooter” inherently sounds safe and slow, but Gogoro is working hard to dispel that image upfront. It’ll reliably do smoky burnouts — several were demonstrated for me by the company’s test rider — and it hits 50 km/h (31 mph) in 4.2 seconds. (It’s surreal seeing a scooter, the icon of practical personal transport, lay a perfect circle of rubber on a public street as the rider slowly pivots the machine on its front wheel.) Top speed is 60 mph, which compares favorably to a Vespa 946’s 57 mph. The company’s promotional video features a black leather-clad badass leaning hard through sweeping turns, superbike-style, dragging his knees on the pavement along the way. Luke says they’re appealing to young riders, and it certainly comes through.
But ultimately, it’s just a scooter. The secret sauce is in the infrastructure that lies beneath.
Go check out the full story. We’ve seen several electric scooters some to market, including the recent C Evolution from BMW, but Gogoro really seems to be onto something here. Keep an eye out, with $150M in funding, something tells me we’re going to see more of Gogoro in the future. I just hope we get a crack at them here in The States.
Source: The Verge