We’re cautiously optimistic about the Gogoro electric scooter. It keeps popping up in our news feeds and keeps moving closer and closer to what seems like a viable market launch. We already knew that Gogoro is well funded at $150M. We already know that this first scooter model boasts impressive stats (60 mph top speed, interchangeable batteries, and a range of 60 miles per battery). What we didn’t know until recently was some idea of the price range.
Just a few days ago, the Gogoro went on pre-order sale in Taiwan for the USD equivalent of $4,140. For that price, owners don’t just get the scooter though. From The Verge:
For NTD$128,000, customers get the scooter itself, one year of theft insurance, and two years of free maintenance and roadside servicing. More importantly, they also get two years’ access to “all-you-can-swap” electric batteries from Gogoro’s charging stations.
Now before you get too excited, there are two very big unknowns here. The first is just where the Gogoro will become available and when. Gogoro are positioning their scooter and its battery swapping station infrastructure as a “mega city” transportation solution. With battery swap stations projected to cost around $10k to install, and currently no way to otherwise charge the Gogoro batteries, this means that owning a Gogoro will be an intensely local experience, and chances are that won’t include Madison, WI. We’ll be lucky to see Gogoro in the states at all, and luckier still to see it outside of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. (Let’s be honest, I’m just being hopeful when I say Chicago.)
The second unknown is the actual release pricing. That $4,140 number is for pre-order only. That’s a launch price — a market penetration price meant to get the bikes out on the road and in the public eye. Actual MSRP will likely be more. Add to that the recoup costs for DOT certification and other import expenses, and if the Gogoro makes it to US shores, it’ll surely be more expensive. How much more expensive is just a guess at this point.
Unknowns aside, what’s interesting here is how Gogoro seems to be taking a much broader view of the ownership experience, surely taking a page from the book of premium electric car juggernaut Tesla. Given that owners will be deeply dependent on the Gogoro battery swap station network to even use their scooter, keeping their relationship tight to owners is a very good idea.
Thinking about this whole prospect — the battery swapping and the simple nature of an electric vehicle — I can’t help but wonder if the better pricing model for the Gogoro wouldn’t be to just lease their scooters. That monthly price could include battery swapping, scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance. Meanwhile Gogoro would be able to charge a certain premium for that convenience and potential users might feel a lot more comfortable.
What I mean there is that there’s a not insignificant psychological barrier that could come into play here. Imagine if you could only gas up your Camry at the Toyota dealership. No matter how great the Camry got, being so heavily dependent on the manufacturer to even use your own vehicle feels like a barrier to ownership to me. One that Gogoro is going to have to work very hard to clear.
That said, I’m still optimistic because the Gogoro is hands down one of the most interesting things to happen in the scooter world in recent memory. Their ambition to become the “AA battery” of electric transportation is certainly a worthwhile goal that will pay off huge if they manage to make it happen.
What about you? Would you buy the Gogoro? What’s your price ceiling? Sound off in the comments.